Republicans just got served.
I'm sorry, but after an extremely shitty run of news for Obama, I think that he amazingly enough might have turned things around pretty dramatically last week.
I speak of two things:
1) The State of the Union and --
2) His visit to the House GOP caucus.
I think the SOTU probably did way more good than a lot of the pundits realized. I watched it in a bar full of Democrats, and by the end we were all cheering. (And, yes, the loss of enthusiasm from the base was a big, big part of the problem for Obama.) When Obama has the stage to himself the man is a ninja master. He spelled things out concisely, and demonstrated why we fell so hard for him in the first place. I can't imagine that the speech didn't also go over big with independent voters. I give the SOTU a fat 9 on a scale of 10.
But his visit to the House GOP caucus was in many ways much more interesting.
If you haven't seen it, I recommend giving the full video the hour or so it takes to watch, because it is one of the most extraordinary displays of political skill I have ever seen. (I only wish they were rebroadcasting it on a non-stop loop.)
Obama went into the lion's den, and came out drenched in lion blood. When the Republicans said that he hadn't listened to any of their ideas during the healthcare debate, he proceeded to quote, chapter and verse, where GOP initiatives have been used in the final legislation. (Like buying insurance over state lines, etc.) When someone blamed the deficits on him (sigh) he refused to let himself be steamrollered and quoted the numbers like he had a computer in front of him.
But when he addressed Republican demagoguing of his administration he wasn't angry and he wasn't annoyed. He merely said, If you keep saying this stuff about me, you're not giving yourself any room to maneuver and work with me. It was, in a way, the most extraordinary thing he said. It was the words of a very deep pragmatist. The country has business to take care of -- let's take care of it.
Republicans are going to have to think very, very hard about obstructing him at every turn. If Obama keeps the rhetoric like this, they're destroying themselves.