The following is a quote from a blog aptly named Right Wing News, which attempts to set the bar for measuring Obama’s first year at messianic levels:

This time last year, I was told that once in office, President Barack Hussein Obama was going bring peace, prosperity, and all things warm and fuzzy to our beloved planet earth. All the national and international turmoil occurring at the time could be attributed solely to President Bush, a.k.a. the anti-Christ, including our two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and including any and all anti-American sentiment across the globe.

If only we had a God-like savior like Barack Obama to lead us out of despair, everything would be okay again. The world would stop sneering at us, nuclear proliferation would magically cease (because our enemies would be too busy kissing our president’s feet), and radical Islamic extremists would finally sit down and have tea with our leaders.

The right wing blogosphere is happily chirping at double digit unemployment and other indices that the economy continues to struggle.  Much as blowhard Rush Limbaugh was castigated for his comment that he hoped Obama would fail, the truth is that many applaud bad domestic and international news for the political damage that may inure to the Democrats.

Republican refusal to participate in governing our nation, preferring instead to “just say no” lest Obama be credited with bipartisanship, reflects the same politics first, country second mentality.  Even routine Senate business such as the year end defense spending bill meets a Republican filibuster—not that the Republicans don’t support the troops but because they smelled a political advantage.

filibusters This chart, posted at Think Progess, shows the dramatic increase in the use of the filibuster in the last generation and exploding in the current Congressional session.  Many suggest that the Senate is broken, prompting Senator Harkin to announce that he will seek changes in the rules of the Senate since the filibuster is purely a self-imposed policy and not written into the constitution.

What does the public think?  Has the Republican “politics first” charade succeeded?  Is the chest-thumping of the right wing blogosphere justified?  Is the party of tea-party protests, death panels, and the filibuster swaying the hearts and minds of the American public?

Not so much. 

With a hat tip to blogger Pastor John Petty, a Gallup poll suggests the public is smarter than the Republicans think.  Here is the question posed by the Gallup pollsters Dec 11-13: “please tell me whether you consider each of the following to be a winner or a loser in politics this year.”

The results?  President Obama came out a winner by a 58-38% margin while the Republicans in Congress were nearly the opposite at 38-52%.  The poll showed even higher “winner” results for three women of Obama’s circle, First Lady Michelle, Secretary of State Clinton (long the bane of Republicans), and newest member of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor (despite Republican opposition 31-9).

Maybe, just maybe, the Republicans would fare better if they actually chose to participate in governance instead of foot-dragging, obfuscating, and political manuevering.