[Ed. – What makes Bouie think Obama won’t continue to provide one?]
For the first time since 2006, Republicans have control of the Senate. And what’s their goal for the next two years, ahead of the presidential election? To govern like a sensible party. “I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome,” said new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a pre-holiday interview with the Washington Post. “I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority.”
That may be a tall order. The last time Republicans had political momentum, after the 2010 elections, they plunged the United States into a year of crisis governance, including a threat to default on the debt if they didn’t get concessions on spending cuts. The hit to the GOP’s popularity was enormous, and it played a part in the 2012 presidential election, where President Obama ran against the Republican-controlled House and its dysfunction.
Maybe McConnell can keep this from happening again. House Speaker John Boehner’s caucus was, and remains, an unwieldy beast of deal-making Republicans and conservative true believers. Yes, McConnell’s Senate has its share of the latter, but he doesn’t seem to face the same internal dissent as Boehner, who has had to fend off challenges to his speakership.