The Democratic Party spirals unidirectionally.
Is it hyperbolic to say the Democratic Party is in the midst of a nervous breakdown? I have been covering national politics since 1988, and I don't remember a situation quite like this. The signs of a crack-up are everywhere. Democrats still think they can somehow win a news cycle by demonizing John Boehner. Chuck Schumer goes on the Senate floor and suggests Democrats are getting the same political mileage out of "millionaires tax" that Republicans have gotten over the years from using "death tax." Politico has a story with blind quotes from Hill Democrats who are furious that the White House isn't using some sort of mythical leverage over Republicans to extract concessions in exchange for extending all the Bush tax cuts -- including continuing to try to trade for DADT and the Dream Act (rather than things dealing with jobs). Two members in good standing of the Professional Left -- moveon and the PCCC -- are spending its members' money on TV ads demanding that the president exercise this same mythical leverage to stand up to the GOP.
Democrats are understandably -- and largely justified in being -- frustrated that they lost an election based on Republicans defending tax cuts for the wealthy that are only expiring because of a budget gimmick championed by George Bush -- and based on criticism of their apparent lack of concern over the deficit, by a party that has shown no past or current seriousness about deficit reduction and the hard choices involved. Losing those political fights was as inexplicable as it was hard for the Democrats. Maybe that's why Thursday seemed to have donkeys melting down all over the place.