I thought about that 2004 [Convention] speech twice this week, first when Obama criticized the Supreme Court and later when he criticized the proposed budget of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. The swipe at the Court, during a press conference, was mild. The attack on Ryan’s budget, which presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has embraced, was not. Particularly with the comments about the Ryan budget, delivered as a speech to a convention of newspaper editors, it was if Obama had given up on the idea of political comity. Maybe the citizens of Red America and Blue America still have a lot in common, he seemed to be saying, but the officials they are electing do not.
If that’s what Obama now believes, I think he is correct. Postwar America enjoyed a broad consensus about the role of government and expanse of the welfare state. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans—they pulled in different directions, with the left hoping to expand the state, the right looking to shrink it. But the idea of eliminating vast swaths of the federal government and gutting entitlements beyond recognition was simply not an element of respectable political conversation.It was pretty clear to most of us that the GOP had gone bye-bye after they impeached Clinton. If it wasn't clear by then, the nomination of a world-class simpleton like George W. Bush to the White House, Bush v. Gore, Iraq, the War on Terror(TM), running to amend the US Constitution to keep out teh geys and Terri Schiavo should've been further clues.
If by 2008 you still hadn't gotten it, with Sarah Palin being touted as the next Reagan, you must have been focused on other things.