The liberal/progressive Dems, however, never liked the lesson, and definitely never took it to heart. They jumped at a non-Clinton candidate in 2007 and crowed at their victory with their stealth candidate Obama. It turned out that he wasn't as progressive as they wanted, but he didn't smack them down, which Clinton had done. The Dems didn't go wild in 2009 because they had to get bills through the Senate, which didn't have 60 progressive votes. They toned it down, but the message was apparent. The tax-and-spend liberals were in ascendance in the Democratic Party.
Obama didn't smack them down, so the 2010 elections did. The Dems learned a lesson, which was to make deals when necessary. And definitely keep quiet about the secret longings for new spending and new taxes--not just a rollback of old tax cuts. Dems even pretended that they cared more about the deficit than the GOP did.
This keep-quiet strategy worked, and they had big wins in 2012. But why did it work?
Because the GOP was on a loony rampage. Yes, it was sometimes covered with a veneer of restraint and old-fashioned conservatism, but the crazy was always evident at or near the surface. So the 2012 electorate was right not to entrust lots of governmental power to the GOP.
Now, the true Democratic agenda is coming back. No more deals, no more cutting any spending, wasteful or not. They could be heading to another electorate smackdown in 2014, but I wouldn't count on it because the GOP may be as much on a loony rampage as before. The Dems figure that they have no reason to behave responsibly. They may win by default, and they can pretend that they have a mandate for their progressive policies.
This is so aggravating to me. There is a whole, huge, sensible middle ground to be scooped up. That's the middle ground in political policy and the middle group in the electorate. Yet neither side is moving to that middle ground. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU POLITICIANS????!!!!????
...until the masks come off.