Julian E. Zelizer: Republicans are Winning Budget Debate





[Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter," published by Times Books, and editor of a book assessing former President George W. Bush's administration, published by Princeton University Press.]

Following the announcement of the budget deal on Friday night, South Dakota Sen. John Thune told Politico, "The debate is now on our side of the field. This is just the opening act. But these upcoming debates are not going to be about whether we're going to reduce the cost and size of government, but how much. That's very good ground for Republicans to fight on."

Thune is correct. The compromise revealed just how far congressional Republicans have been able to shift the debate since the 2010 midterm elections.

Much of the energy that President Barack Obama and Democrats displayed in his first two years in office -- pushing for health care reform, financial regulation, an economic stimulus and more -- seems to be gone.

The elections sapped much of the drive out of his presidency. During the lame-duck session of Congress, Obama signaled how much the climate had changed when he agreed to extend President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, thereby breaking a key promise that he had made in his 2008 campaign....


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