Tuesday night may have "silled the dill"I think. The seating arrangement played in his favor because when the scattered Dems rose to applaud, it appeared the whole chamber had risen. When he called out the empty seat left for Rep Giffords, the guy sitting next to the empty seat waved for someone to come quick, fill the opening. They didn't think he'd mention it? He got Boehner to tear up just mentioning Boehner's dad. The salmon joke. It was all over the Repubs faces, " can't we do anything that doesn't make this guy come out smelling like a rose, sh!t, f@ck, damm, sh!t." Paul Ryan looked and sounded almost as bad as Jindal's Kenneth speech. Palin was foaming at the mouth in her interview with Greta "The USSR collapsed because of Sput-'nit', we should all make Spud-nuts". If the Repubs keep gaffing all over themselves it could be a landslide in 2012.
The AZ shooting has done wonders for Obama's approval ratings. It is disturbing to see that tragedies appear to be what POTUSes need to boost their image, but it is a well-documented process. Because of the shooting, Repubs are softening their rhetoric. While this won't be permanent, it has forced Repubs and Dems to begin this new session more civilly than anyone could have imagined, which I think will have lasting effects in how the 2 groups interact overall. By having to appear to be playing nicely, they will set up a different communication process than what would have happened had the national debate about inflammatory rhetoric not occurred. I am not saying that the Repubs won't continue being obstructionists, but I do think that the change in rhetoric has cooled things a bit which benefits us all, including Obama. The Repubs were entering the House as if they were Vikings on new territory. The shooting also stopped Congress from dealing with major issues (comparatively) for a week which dampened the intensity of the Repub majority in the House. While the rhetoric will return to being inflammatory, an interactive style has been initiated that wouldn't have occurred had we not been forced to deal with how we talk in politics today.
Kimba, you are correct; Paul Ryan came off as a dumb ass. He couldn't use the rhetoric that the Repubs obviously need to make a point these days. This left the official Repub response to the SOTUA seeming weak and ridiculous. Had Ryan been able to fire up the rhetoric, the Repub response would have had some power to it. I can't remember anything from Ryan's speech other than "government is too big", "can't spend our way out of debt" and "Obamacare is bad". The only reason I remember that much is because they are the big Repub memes right now.
All of this helps Obama's image and his approval rating. While I wasn't all that impressed with the SOTUA, the milder Repub response made Obama's speech appear much better than it would have otherwise.
While the Tea Party helped in 2010, it may kill the Repub party in 2012. But Obama can't take this lightly; he needs to fight as hard as he did in 2008 against Clinton and McCain. The Repub nominee won't make the mistake McCain did by selecting a woman VP candidate to get women to vote for him/her. Obama will have to defend his record from his first term, which won't be easy. But Obama didn't get cocky during the last campaign, and I don't think he will do so in 2012.
At this point, there doesn't appear to be a Repub candidate that could beat Obama in 2012. Thank FSM. But I'm not going to get too confident.
One would have to be crazy to want to be POTUS right now. I wonder if Obama even wants the job in 2012?! He will run and run to win, but still, I wouldn't take the job for any amount of money!