Maybe it's the Starbucks grande coffee talking, but who cares? Today this progressive is feeling pretty damn good about where the political winds are blowing -- in Wisconsin, here in Oregon, and in the whole country.
I remember how down Dems and left-leaning independents felt last November when the 2010 midterm tsunami wiped out "D" control in the House of Representatives, substantially narrowed the Democratic Senate majority, and put right-wingers in control of many governorships.
Such as Scott Walker, in Wisconsin.
Yet his union-busting overreaching has begun to backfire. Last night I obsessively kept refreshing the AP election results for the Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Walker sycophant David Prosser and a progressive, JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Currently, with all precincts reporting, Kloppenburg has a 210 vote lead (out of some 1,480,000 cast). That's amazing. And wonderfully encouraging. Liberals in Wisconsin showed they could muster some powerful political muscle. Come 2012, union supporters and progressives will demonstrate more of the same.
Here in Oregon, on a 49-48% vote in 2010 we narrowly escaped the disaster of electing Republican political newbie Chris Dudley as Governor. Our state House of Representatives shifted from Democratic control to a 30-30 tie.
Some pundits predicted that John Kitzhaber, a Democrat who'd already served two rather lackluster terms as Governor, would falter under the pressures of major state budget problems and a legislature nearly equally divided between R's and D's.
Yet so far the budgeting process is going smoothly, and Kitzhaber is looking all senior-statesmanlike. He's charting a centrist economic course, demonstrating that the voters chose wisely when they elected a governor with smarts and experience rather than Chris Dudley -- who was woefully deficient in both.
I don't sense signs of any Republican resurgence in Oregon. Nationally, the "R's" also seem poised to squander the political momentum that they had in November 2010. Overreaching and overconfidence will do that.
This weekend the federal government may shut down. If that happens, failure to reach agreement on a budget plan for the rest of FY 2011 will make Congressional Republicans and Democrats, along with Obama, look like incompetents.
The political fallout probably will irradiate both parties about equally. Eventually they'll come to their senses and reach the budget deal that should have been agreed to this week (hopefully this will happen, averting a shutdown, but I suspect it won't).
Much more beneficial, long-term, for the progressive cause is Republican Congressman Paul Ryan's recently released horrendous federal fiscal blueprint for the next forty years or so.
It's a huge political gift to the Dems. It almost guarantees a Democratic resurgence in 2012, and markedly improves Obama's already excellent re-election chances.
What's not for progressives to like politically in Ryan's plan? It demolishes the highly popular Medicare program, replacing it with vouchers for private health insurance. Wow, just what seniors want (not!) -- take away my Medicare and let me deal with the nightmare of private health insurers until I die.
Ryan also wants to make Medicaid into a block grant program, allowing states to leave people needing long-term care, children, and the disabled to their own health care devices.
Gee, another great Republican idea (not!) -- letting the most medically vulnerable members of our society struggle to pay for their own care, or rely on charity, while giving big tax breaks to the richest Americans.
As this editorial says, Ryan isn't pointing the United States on a path to prosperity, but a path to ruin.
If the House Republican budget blueprint released on Tuesday is the “path to prosperity” that its title claims, it is hard to imagine what ruin would look like.
The plan would condemn millions to the ranks of the uninsured, raise health costs for seniors and renege on the obligation to keep poor children fed. It envisions lower taxes for the wealthy than even George W. Bush imagined: a permanent extension for his tax cuts, plus large permanent estate-tax cuts, a new business tax cut and a lower top income tax rate for the richest taxpayers.
Compared to current projections, spending on government programs would be cut by $4.3 trillion over 10 years, while tax revenues would go down by $4.2 trillion. So spending would be eviscerated, mainly to make room for continued tax cuts.
This isn't going to fly with progressives and independents, along with moderate Repubicans and seniors. So things are looking up for progressives, way up compared to where Obama and the Dems appeared to be positioned politically just a few months ago.
There will be lots of twists and turns before the November 2012 elections, but on the whole I think the way is clear for a significant progressive bounceback.