I used to say that the American people were with us (liberals) on every issue except for gay marriage. Well, that's obviously no longer true.
Yet it's not enough for Republicans to be wrong and Democrats to be right. Our party has squandered myriad opportunities to press their advantage in the court of public opinion. Rather than rehash many of those failures, let's head below the fold and take stock of what's happening today:
Democrats have declared war on the NRA, an organization deemed untouchable as recently as one month ago. Some Republicans are urging their party to sign on to some reform measures to live to fight another day:
But we all know the GOP is going to fight this thing tooth and nail, highlighting their continued alienation from the American mainstream.
Next up is immigration reform, set to hit the scene around the end of the month. Democrats know Republicans are in a bind, torn between their nativist base and the fast-growing Latinos and Asian communities. If reform efforts fail, Republicans will shoulder all of the blame, perhaps irrevocably.
Then comes the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff II fights, where the White House appears to have found solid footing. Part of it has to be from the (objective) whooping he gave Boehner in Round I. Part of it from the GOP's obvious dysfunction, as its teahadist wing has become so unyielding that the GOP leadership has had no choice but to circumvent it. So long Hastert Rule! It's so much easier to outmaneuver a divided GOP.
Democrats are still pushing hard on the Violence Against Women Act, while the GOP continues to obstruct it. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is set to review bans on marriage equality while House Republicans continue to spend millions defending bigotry. And people aren't down with that anymore.
Democrats definitely are changing their tone, becomes tougher, more confrontational. Witness Obama himself on Wednesday, while announcing his gun safety proposal:
There will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty -- not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes, they’ll do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever.That may have been the first time this president has acknowledged ill intentions by an opposition that has spent the last four years trying to destroy him in the most vile ways. This was a president done trying to ascribe just motivations to his opponents, done considering them good-faith actors, done treating their ideas as legitimate. This was a president who knows public opinion is on his side while the conservative opposition is not, and he's finally decided to side with the American people.
Democrats won't get a fraction of what they want or need over the next two years. The GOP House will make sure of that. So it will be imperative that Democrats pin those Republicans down with bad vote after bad vote. Let those assholes scream about "freedom" when our children are being gunned down in schools across the country. Let them vow to take away people's health care just as Obamacare becomes fully implemented. Let them scream anti-gay hate as America becomes more and more tolerant by the minute. Let them shine their xenophobic racist colors as they spew their anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Because we've now come to the point were Republicans have nothing left to offer the American people. They can only win if Democrats don't turn out at the polls or via undemocratic constructs like gerrymandering.
As long as Democrats fight hard for all of the above, base turnout should hold. The base rewards Democrats who fight for them. 2006, 2008, and 2012 proved that. So did 2010. For peripheral voters, those who don't pay much attention to politics? Make sure every headline they read, every newscast they catch, every watercooler conversation they overhear reinforces the fact that Republicans are standing in the way of everything they find decent and good.
We're off to a fantastic start. Not perfect! But pretty darn good. Now we encourage our party to stay the course, because remember—we can't win the House by simply getting a majority of the generic congressional vote. We did that in 2012 and came up significantly short thanks to gerrymandering. Instead, we need to crush them by 5-7 points. The good news? We're getting there.