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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/19/2010

What a week

By Jennifer Rubin

This past week was an extraordinary one for politics watchers. It had the feel of a national political convention week -- all the pols, the pundits, the excitement of non-stop news. (START is dead! No it lives! The omnibus spending bill is monstrous! Oh my, that's dead, too.) But unlike a political convention that simply chooses leaders and quickly fades into the atmosphere (Quick: who were the keynote speakers for the two parties in 2008?), the week had meat -- constitutional law (wow, the Commerce Clause might have some bite left in it), ideological watersheds (we are all Bush tax cutters now), social breakthroughs (in a few years, will anyone care about any issue regarding gays?), and foreign policy intrigue (just how desperate is the administration to prostrate itself before the Russians?).

Big things happened. President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (I typed "majority leader" and had to correct, but he surely seems like the one running the place) may be the next Ronald Reagan-Tip O'Neill political odd couple. ObamaCare, by a combination of judicial surgery (a mandate-ectomy) and a starvation diet (not the Zone Diet, but the DeMint-McConnell-Boehner-Ryan Squeeze), suddenly seemed in peril.

The week's events also confirmed that Congress, not the preliminary 2012 Republican primary scramble, will be where the action is for conservatives over the next few months. None of the often-mentioned contenders are anxious to get into the race, although preening for the base is very much underway (Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Rep. Mike Pence, unlike Rep. Dennis Kucinich, opposed the tax agreement because you can never say "yes" and impress the hardest of the hardliners.)

The successful repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" confirms the Tea Party formula -- focus on economic issues -- is the effective one for Republicans. Moreover, the notion that liberals must run to the courts to impose gay marriage is undermined by the realization that our elected leaders do, in fact, reflect social change.

Meanwhile, the defeat of the DREAM Act, with the defection of six Democratic votes, suggests the liberals want an issue, not a solution to the immigration problem. (Had the DREAM Act been limited to military service only, wouldn't passage have been much more likely?)

And finally, we were reminded that political power is transient, entirely a function of the popular will. Two years ago, Obama was a colossus on the political stage, and the Democrats had huge majorities in both the House and Senate. A year ago, ObamaCare was jammed through on the narrowest of margins. And this week, the center-right, smaller government ethos -- a mere two years after Obama's election -- appeared triumphant. It won't be always so. But this week it was.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 19, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  2012 campaign, Budget  
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Next: Laura Bush's human rights model

Comments

Isn't some of the objection to the repeal of DADT based on the possibility that this is not just a matter of "social change," but one with military ramifications?

"Possibility" I say - not taking a position, myself.

Posted by: IsraelP | December 19, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Great summary, well said. The radical agenda of our Radical-in-Chief and his minions in the Progressive Party (formerly known as the Democrat party) is kaput. The interesting battle now will be the Progressive attempt to use regulators (e.g., EPA) to impose an ill will on the American people.

And because Obama is between a rock and a hard place (govern by compromise and negotiation with McConnell and the Republicans or please his radical base) it will be a delight to see how he handles this political scenario . . . and if the Republicans demonstrate a stiff spine.

Another development: this wonderful blog. Congratulations, Jennifer, and may the new year be prosperous for you and your family.

Posted by: DocC1 | December 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Great blog! I am totally addicted. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: vausa22923 | December 19, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

And how! Here's my beginning of a song in homage to Jennifer Rubin...
(to the tune of Donovan's Jennifer Juniper)

Jennifer Rubin's sure blogging up a storm
Jennifer Rubin's terrifically in form
Is she snarking? I don't think so.
Is she barking? Yes, very low.
Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love?

Jennifer Rubin's sure blogging on the Hill
Jennifer Rubin's sure giving us a thrill
Is she right-wing? Yes, I think so.
Is she lightning? Yes, ever so.
Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love?

Well, it's a start...let the more creative have at it! :)

Posted by: aardunza | December 19, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

And yes, I'm way stupider and uglier, FWIW

But that doesn't make me a bad person!

Cheers to Jen, JPOD, JED, Pete, et. al --

My Favorite People -- boy do I miss A. Almasov! ;-)

Posted by: aardunza | December 19, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I love it. Democrats and backing tax cuts and Republicans are cheering the death of social conservatism! Nice that you try to spin the blow that repealing DADT made against social conservatives by saying "will anyone care in a few years? It'll make liberals look bad when they go to the courts for gay marriage!" Well, the most rabid part of your base is going to care, and the Republicans will be the one that abandoned them.

Tea Partiers are frothing at the mouth about the repeal of DADT. This "focus on the economy" tactic is only going to anger them more. As much as you want to believe that Tea Partiers are economically focused, they are social conservatives in secular-clothing, and they will eat the Republican Party alive if the Republican Party goes with the progressive flow of social policy.

Get ready for inter-party war between social conservatives and fiscal-conservative/social-liberal Republicans! More Angles, Bucks, and O'Donnells will win in primaries to hand the general elections over to Democrats. I'll be watching with some popcorn!

Posted by: paulflorez | December 19, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Popcorn...

*sniffing the air*

Did someone mention popcorn?

Posted by: MsJS | December 19, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

In most cases the fiscal conservative tea partiers and social conservatives are the same people. A minority who split between the two get proportionately too much press.

Posted by: fraudbust2011 | December 19, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Can you imagine heterosexual women being forced to shower next to heterosexual men in the services? Of course not. But now it looks like heterosexual men will be forced to shower next to homosexual men, for whom they are potential objects of sexual interest. I'm not sure this whole inevitability thing will play out as the homosexual crowd is saying it will...

Posted by: fraudbust2011 | December 19, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

@fraudbust2011,

Straight and gay military men are already showering next to each other. Have been for years and years. They also work next to each other and sleep next to each other.

I'm not sure I understand your point.

Posted by: MsJS | December 19, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

(Facetious)

Will lesbian women be allowed to shower with gay men? Do Ask Do Tell Proof of orientation? What's your perversion? Can sheeplovers serve?

A new meaning to be attached to V/E Day?

Can of worms...?

Posted by: aardunza | December 19, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

In most cases the fiscal conservative tea partiers and social conservatives are the same people. A minority who split between the two get proportionately too much press.

Posted by: fraudbust2011 | December 19, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

---------------

If you are a Tea Partier and you do not mind social conservative issues being thrown under the bus by the Republicans, then you are not a social conservative at all.

And social conservatives don't appreciate being thrown under the bus. They'll rip the Tea Party/GOP to shreds of the Tea Party Republicans do so.

Posted by: paulflorez | December 20, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and...
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (I typed "majority leader" and had to correct, but he surely seems like the one running the place)"

Yeah, the same Mitch McConnell who had 8 Republicans vote against him with the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell?

How will you spin it when the moderate Republicans, once again, spur McConnell and his ilk by voting for START?

The only thing McConnell is running is the circus that is made up of the far-right Republicans. He won't be running anything either next year, since Tea Party candidates O'Donnell, Buck, Angle, McMahon blew their elections and the Republican's chance at a Senate Majority in 2011. Meanwhile, Nevadans voted Harry Reid into office for six more years.

Republicans had a chance at a complete takeover of Congress and they blew it. Now, not a single bill will make it to the President's desk unless the Democrats have their say first. A nice even split, where both parties share the responsibility and both parties, now Republicans included, will get share of the blame.

Meanwhile, the media frenzy of interviewing gay soldiers hasn't even begun. You're going to see Gay Americans in the spotlight as heroes, since they are after all putting their lives on the line for this country, and when the social conservatives start to fume the Republicans will throw them under the bus. When society begins to recognize that the freedom of social conservatives is being fought for by the very people they vilify, the heads of the anti-gay and anti-american right will explode in a beatiful barrage of colorful fireworks.

Posted by: paulflorez | December 20, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

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