With the rise of alternative media and the significant diminution of the power of mass media, as the recent health care struggle demonstrated, it has become much more difficult for Democrats to push hard for left-wing legislation than it used to be in the 60s and 70s. The underlying reason for this is that politics is much more about stopping the bad guy than it is about standing up for your own politicians–especially if those politicians start advocating for things you don’t like.
One advantage Democrats still have with regard to Big Media, however, is their ability to push a negative agenda, a much easier feat in politics. That is why in the coming weeks and month while Republicans are talking “repeal,” expect Democrats (and their allies in the media) to be talking “move on.”
I can see the narrative now: Republicans won’t get over the fact that they lost on health care. They may be upset but it’s time for them and the racist tea partiers to move on. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner need to get back to the business of the American people and start working toward fixing our broken government.
Will it work this time? That depends on how drastic President Obama wants to get with the issues he’s identified on his priority list: immigration and climate regulation. If he employs a similarly partisan and bull-headed approach, that seems unlikely.
Republicans’ best bet is to not get too dramatic in their health care messaging and restrict it to just their campaign speeches. Democrats are counting on GOPers getting distracted with health care so that they can press ahead on their other goals while the public isn’t looking.