For most of my life I strongly believed in the value of a two party system.
We need not just a party in power, but a loyal opposition.
The problem is the GOP has refused to be a loyal opposition. The key revelation is the birther movement.
A loyal opposition by definition accepts the other side's right to be in power. It recognizes that they won the election reasonably fairly and that they must accept that fact.
The actual problem began with Al Gore's contested election. It raised the stakes in the game. But eventually the Democrats put it behind them. The birther issues continues to exist four years after it was first raised. The fact that it was originally raised by a racist democrat is irrelevant. It's continued existence, in the form of lawsuits, etc. has revealed that the GOP is not a loyal opposition.
It is a disloyal opposition. It talked about 'second amendment solutions', and 'reloading' back in 2010/2011
They had their goal not being the betterment of the country, but taking power back.
They passed 'Voter ID' laws designed not to stop fraud, but to stop Democrats from voting (see previous posts here)
All of these things show how the GOP has ceased being a 'loyal opposition' and become just the 'enemy'.
But they don't interfere with actual government. The real problem is that we don't have the loyal opposition.
You see, the main benefit of the loyal opposition is that they force the party in power to make reasonable compromises. Instead of pushing in new taxes with no spending cuts, they get something to counteract the extreme part of the opponent's views.
They are not supposed to insist on the extreme benefits themselves, thereby killing any action.
Not the new GOP. They don't compromise - they still won't accept $1 in new taxes for $10 in spending cuts.
They think by standing firm, they can get what they want. But when someone refuses to compromise, that doesn't make the other side cave, it makes the other side act unilaterally. The GOP tried, and failed. So instead of giving the GOP the $10 in spending cuts that Obama was willing to offer, Obama s going to do something much harsher. Maybe we simply get the new taxes with no spending cuts. Maybe we get new taxes with minor spending cuts.
The GOP thinks the people will blame Obama. They won't. The GOP established itself as the bad guy - the guy that won't compromise. Instead, the GOP will get the blame for failing to do it's job.
Which is appropriate because that is exactly what is happening - the GOP is failing to do it's job of being the Loyal Opposition.
That means it is there job to prevent the Party in Power from going extreme.
Which is what happened with Obamacare. The thing is, when you go extreme, the bad consequences usually don't show up right away. They develop over years, just like Bush's problems. The DNC is going to have to deal with those extremes over the next 8 years, not right away.
During that time, the GOP is going to lose a lot of support. It's going to take some time - the oldsters remember the good old days when the GOP was reasonable. But every year, the old guard dies or retires. The new guard are all radical extremists. They will turn off the moderates, particularly the younger voters.
Combine this with the growth of the Hispanic population, and the GOP is in trouble over the long term.
Over the next 10 years, the GOP is going to start losing voters. If they don't fix the problem, then starting in 2020 or so, they are going to start losing elections, not to mention fundraising problems.
This doesn't mean the GOP won't every hold power. They have a strong current base and can, under the right circumstance take control of the government. They might even win. But their refusal to compromise means neither side is going to get anything substantial done unless they have near total control over the government.
This means the US is going to have to figure out how to exist as a single party government, rather than a two-party system.
P.S. One way to tell if someone is being reasonable or just being a jerk is to see if their compromise lives up their rhetoric, or if it goes against the grain. If a spouse insists that a new car would be too expensive, then insists that if you do get one, it must be red because they 'compromised' about getting it in the first place, then something is wrong. Why do hey care about the new car's color at all? If you don't want a new car, then the compromise because of the money, then they compromise by spending less money - perhaps on a used car. They give up the right to argue about the color and make if they insist it's about money.
Similarly, when arguing about the budget, if you insist you want to control the deficit, then you lose the right argue about new taxes vs spending cuts.