Sad but true
What Atrios says here is absolutely true. A Democratic president, no matter who it is, is going to pay for the Republicans' sins. But it won't be just because the Republicans and Blue Dogs in congress suddenly "realize" they have co-equal power. I predict that the right wing noise machine will shout far and wide that the election was stolen (probably with the help of "illegal aliens.") The new president will not be allowed to weed out even one right wing plant anywhere in the executive branch without being accused of politicizing it. There will be no executive privilege as the courts rediscover their "responsibilities." Scientists and experts will all be accused of being shills for the liberal special interests. The president will be accused of violating Americans' civil liberties and destroying the constitution. There will be widespread accusations of fraud and corruption and non-stop investigations.
In other words the Republicans are going to accuse the Democratic president of everything we know the Bush administration did. And because it was never fully investigated or even fully discussed, people will lay the sins at the feet of the Democratic president and feel a sense of relief that the balance of power is being restored and Washington is finally being cleaned up.
The media, who know the real story (they helped cover it up, after all) will lead the charge. The GOP will feed them juicy stories with just the right amount of sexy detail and they will rush to tell the American people, gravely intoning their deep concern for the integrity of the office and "their town." (And the children...)
Atrios says this is better than the alternative, which is sadly true. The country can't survive another GOP administration right now. But Democratic presidents are going to have to learn that their most important and difficult job will be dealing with relentless baseless political attacks from the Republicans and the media. It's the way our politics are currently constructed. Republicans accrue vast amounts of power and wealth for themselves at the expense of the taxpayers, and the Democrats are expected to clean things up by paying the debts for them. The Dems don't do it out of altruism or commitment. They do it because they are held to standards of integrity and effectiveness that aren't expected of Republicans --- and they refuse to effectively fight them, even when they have the advantage.
Since the Democrats have shown no appetite for educating the public about what the Republicans have done these past seven years (and now time is running out) I expect they will squeak through the election by promising to move beyond the politics of division and pledging to move forward, not look backwards. (As the media keeps telling us ad nauseam: now that the Republicans are temporarily weakened by their own corruption and malfeasance, it's a known fact that the entire country wants to stop the partisan bickering and let bygones be bygones.)
And so the new Democratic president will be nearly paralyzed, standing there like a deer caught in the headlights when the Republican Semi bears down on him or her, horns honking and whistles blowing. If we're lucky, he or she will be agile enough to survive it for a term or two and the country will at least have a little time to take a short breather from the worst of the Republican treasury pillaging, disasters and unnecessary wars.
It's not a very uplifting or efficient way to run country, but it seems to be the way things work for the moment.
I don't normally copy an entire post, but this just hit the nail on the head too well to leave it to a link.