After years of being out of power and relegated to the fringe sideline within their own party, the far-right wing of the Republican party found a home in the Ronald Reagan White House. Finally invited to the big table, the far right did not demand 100% implementation of their agenda over night.
Quite the contrary, they continued to incrementally fight for their issues. They built Think Tanks, magazines, news stations and radio talk shows aimed at making their case to the American public. The Republican far right stayed disciplined and on message until they were able to flex their political muscle.
On the other hand, I have been somewhat disappointed by the impatience of the more progressive wing in the Democratic party. An article in this month's Rolling Stone, called Making the Case for Obama, accurately points out that the landmark legislation victories by team Obama surpasses Bush I and II, Clinton, Reagan and Carter. In fact, only LBJ and FDR had more legislative victories. And the article notes they both had huge super majorities in the senate - which Obama barely has.
Even with historic legislative victories, the progressives are rapidly souring on the Obama administration - to the extent that there is a wide enthusiasm gap between GOP voters and Democratic voters; and this may contribute to the GOP winning back the House and the Senate in the 2010 mid-term election.
The following observation was in today's New York Times:
Melody Barnes, the president’s domestic-policy adviser, says the biggest problem was that after eight years of Bush, Obama’s supporters were very eager to change everything right away. “The pent-up demand across every issue area — around science, around education, around health care, immigration, you name it — there was a lot of desire to finally get these things done,” she told me. “Every segment of the population had something that was very important to them that they really wanted to put over the finish line.”
I thought I would never encourage stealing a page from the GOP playbook, however adopting their more strategic approach to politics beats standing around shooting ourselves in the foot with friendly fire.