One of the themes we're going to see going into the New Year is suggesting that the voters in 2010 weren't sending an anti-Big Government message -- they were sending an end-gridlock message. That sounds more than odd, considering the Democrats had little fear of gridlock with the size of their majorities in the last two years. But there was Gloria Borger on the Christmas Eve Washington Week on PBS:
But I think Republicans also got a message here, which was the American voters said, okay, we’re going to vote you in, but we don’t really love you. We just don’t like the other guys and the way they’ve run the Congress and we want you to get something done and end the gridlock. And so when Republican leaders returned to Capitol Hill – Mitch McConnell chief among them – and he may get some guff for it from his new incoming Republican conservative senators, he decided, okay, we’re going to cut some deals here. He didn’t want to cut the deal on START, but he did get what he wanted on tax cuts and he killed the big spending bill that he didn’t like.
Borger also insisted (and other reporters echoed) that Obama better stop sounding to the right of Dick Cheney on "gay marriage" if he wants to win in 2012:
GWEN IFILL, PBS: I heard some of that playing out yesterday – Wednesday in his answer on the question about gay marriage. Now that you’ve got Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, advocates are saying, what about gay marriage? He says, well, actually I’m wrestling about that. Does wrestling mean a personal wrestling match or is he listening now to see what else he can get through?
BORGER: I think it’s a personal wrestling match and if I were his political advisor, I’d say, no, don’t wrestle personally.
IFILL: He said this more than once.
BORGER: Yes, he has and I think it’s clear that he knows it’s playing out. It’s likely to wind up in the Supreme Court and he knows that his position on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell could be a contradiction of his position on gay marriage or some could interpret it that way. But I think this is a president who’s sort of found his groove, got his groove back right – is that he now – context is everything in politics...
PETER BAKER, New York Times: I would say two things on the gay marriage issue, which is really interesting. When he takes his position in favor of civil unions, not gay marriage, politics were different. Today, Barack Obama is to the right on gay marriage of Dick Cheney and Ted Olson, who won the Bush v. Gore case in 2000. The politics have moved –
MS. BORGER: And a young generation.
MR. BAKER: And a younger generation that he likes to motivate and needs to motivate in two years.