The GOP thinks that they are well-entrenched in the House and time will eventually bring them back into power with a well-timed recession or a major Dem mistake... The Dems acknowledge the mid-term danger but believe the GOP is slowly being throttled to death by demographic and social change, and that by about 2030 the left will have grown strong enough that the dreams of conservatives will be forever dead... In any case, neither side is trying to get things done, but to set agendas for when their expected futures come about. Whatever happens with the sequester and the budget is merely a blip in the sweep of the longer-term strategies they are pursuing... At this point I don't think either party finds it in their interest to minimize problems. [Emphasis added by MP.]I don't know whose agenda the future will favor, but his point spurred me to think about grand political strategies of the recent past.
The Permanent Republican Majority
Rove was very solicitous of the concerns of evangelical and conservative groups. But he also needed to make sure that the GOP blind-sided by bread-and-butter concerns, so education and Medicare were also on the radar. I recall reading the Medicare Part D came about because Rove didn't want the Dems to have the lack of medication coverage as an issue.
Of course this dream didn't survive the debacle of the Iraq war, with all lives lost, money borrowed and wasted, and arrogance that it was going well. The dream, already dead, was killed even deader by the financial crisis of 2008. No wonder I had to research to remind myself how 'the permanent Republican majority' was supposed to work.
The Obama plan?
If Dems can keep these voters coming to the polls, and sign up even more, they will have an electoral advantage. There's little the GOP is doing to woo these voters away, and they don't have an equivalent pool to tap. Lots of people think the GOP is screwed. So it would seem unless the Dems revert to being their own worst enemies through overreach.
I can't end this reflection without mentioning the Clinton strategy of triangulation. Under this strategy, Clinton negotiated a successful reform of welfare. He also avoided the fate of many old-line Democrats (turned out of office in 1994), and won reelection in 1996. Though it wasn't a 'grand' strategy, it worked well for Bill Clinton. Hillary wasn't so lucky or adept, and the Dems gave the nomination in 2008 to someone friendlier to the traditional left.
I notice that political strategies don't have as long a shelf-life as their supporters hope. I also notice that I can talk about strategies without talking about principles or deeply held values. Of course, deeply held values probably don't have a long shelf-life either as political strategy, or a successful strategy at least.