A lesson for both parties: A lot can change in two years

The pundits, if you discount the walk-on-water tone, weren’t exactly wrong about Obama; it’s just that his most significant political tests hadn’t yet taken place. The stimulus bill, which by ordinary scorekeeping was a big legislative win, came to be seen as a major albatross. And when you work in the White House, stuff happens, like a Gulf oil spill that, fairly or unfairly, tarred his presidency.

There’s a lesson here for the coming Republican era on the Hill. The media haven’t told us much about GOP power brokers until now because the minority always gets short shrift. Most Americans know little about John Boehner, except for his perpetual tan. A stunning three-quarters of those in a New York Times/CBS poll said they had no opinion of the soon-to-be-House Speaker, which to my mind amounts to a journalistic failure…

The temptation, once the polls close Tuesday night, will be to portray Republicans as tenacious leaders who overcame incredible odds and are poised to rescue the country from runaway government. Well, maybe. Time will tell. We shall see. And by the way: Barack Obama, the day after the midterms, still gets an incomplete grade. The president who soared after 100 days and stumbled after 21 months may look very different by 2012.

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