I believe that our federal government is screwed until the Republican party is crushed or split in two. Somewhat surprisingly, this obvious truth is being embraced by some in official Washington. Here’s John Dickerson of Slate:
Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize. Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition’s most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray.
I don’t agree with everything Dickerson says, I’m not sure the politics of gun safety are favorable to Democrats, for example, but Dickerson is mostly right on here.
Republicans can and will block the vast majority of what Obama proposes (though there may continue to be instances where the non-southern part of the Republican House caucus votes with Democrats to pass bills). The only possible way to stop this is to make them feel so much political pain that they back off.
Generally speaking, establishment political media holds that the poor and middle-class need nothing but sticks (e.g. Social Security and Medicare cuts) while elites need nothing but carrots (invitations to the White House, lavish praise from the plebes). I think the opposite.
It’s not just crushing the Republican party is a good long-term strategic plan, it’s also the only way to get anything done in the short term.