...while conservatives can be confident that a President Obama and a new Democratic majority will eventually overreach and create openings for the GOP, they'd be fools to anticipate anything like the series of disasters, political and otherwise, that George W. Bush has presided over. If Obama ends up where Bush is today, then conservatives can campaign any way they damn well please in 2012 and 2016 and be confident of victory. But that isn't likely to happen, and if it doesn't, the Right is going to need a strategy based on something more than base-rallying and media-bashing.
Of course, we need to seal the deal in November, but things are looking pretty good.
I think there is a lot to what Douthat has to say; I am confident Obama will outgovern the Worst President Ever, but it's true that power corrupts and the Dems will have plenty. But more than that, he's missing something that will prevent it from being that easy for Democrats or quite that difficult for Republicans...
What Douthat fails to calculate is the fact that Obama and the Democrats are taking over a sinking ship. They have to clean up the GOP's mess (again) and there will be some tough stretches in the next year or two as the economy recovers. The GOP won't waste a day during that time blaming Obama for the bind the country is in.
It's crap, but they'll do it. It's all they have, and unless the public suddenly becomes more intelligent and discerning, it will work—to a degree.
A large part of how effective that is depends on how the media calls it. I have no faith in them to do anything except try to level the field in favor of the GOP—and I don't just mean FOX and Rush Limbaugh. The mainstream media is utterly worthless at discerning truth vs. bullshit—they merely present both sides as if equal.
The biggest thing in our favor that could overcome all that is Obama himself. He has the communication skills to go right over the heads of the media to make his point if necessary.