Can the Republicans claim political victory again? I’m skeptical.

First of all, Barack Obama isn’t Bill Clinton. The level of ideological stamina in the White House, not to mention the willingness to fracture the nation to protect spending, is rather imposing. Moreover, Obama has no incentive to compromise after winning an election convincingly, and with the help of some of his friends in the media, he’s been able to portray the GOP as obstructionists for failing to rubber-stamp his agenda.

Then, John Boehner isn’t Newt Gingrich, either. For all we hear about the latter’s eccentricities and faults, the Gingrich Congress — for a while there, at least — was imbued with a sense of purpose and offered Americans a cogent argument. Folks may not remember, but in the early phases of the fight, Clinton’s poll numbers were dropping — and nothing hurt the man more.

The country, too, is different. We will never — and I mean never — hear Obama offer America a speech declaring the era of big government over, because, well, it would be preposterous, and it’s not as if the country wants to hear it.