Right off the bat we won the ability to mop up Republicans in the next election. They’ve been so discredited through this process that it is now impossible to anyone to deny that the Republican ARE the problem. Democrats from Maine to Maui simply need to run ads saying “My opponent is a Republican!” to score damaging points for the foreseeable future.
The next win was NOT taking a weak economy and driving it over a cliff for shits and giggles. It would seem self-evident that NOT ruining the economy would be a win for everyone, but teabags are already lamenting the big missed opportunity they had to really fuck everyone over – but good.
The third thing America won is more accurate picture of the resolve of President Barack Obama. This is from Andrew Sullivan who captures the win expertly.
Many of us found in Barack Obama a very post-ideological president, a pragmatist, a Christian, and a traditional family man, and naively believed that he could both repair the enormous damage done by the Bush-Cheney administration and simultaneously reach out to the red states as well. I refuse to say the failure is his. Because he tried. For years, he was lambasted by the left for being far too accommodating, far too reasonable, aloof, not scrappy enough, weak … you know the drill by now. In fact, he was just trying to bring as much of the country along as he could in tackling the huge recession and massive debt he inherited at one and the same time, and in unwinding the 9/11 emergency, and in ending two wars and the morally and legally crippling legacy of torture (about which the GOP is simply in rigid denial).
Obama got zero votes from House Republicans for a desperately needed stimulus in his first weeks in office. So I cannot believe he could have maintained any sort of detente with the Republican right, dominated by the legacy of Palin, rather than McCain.
In view of the Republicans absolute refusal to honor the “for all of our differences, we are all in this together” traditions of America, the biggest win that Obama needed to nail down is the primacy of the rational deliberative process. I’m not sure we are there, but if the debt limit can no longer be used as a hostage it is a sign that we might have scored a win on that question as well.