|I have read observations about and have posted about how Democrat presidential administrations make messes which Republican successor administrations spend most of their time and political capital cleaning up.
Eisenhower got us out of Truman's Korean War, Nixon got us out of Johnson's Vietnam War, Reagan ended the clewlessness and drift of Carter's era, GWB had to deal with Clinton's legacy, 9/11.
We see Republican presidents confined to being reactive in response to policies of previous and generally more pro-active Democrat presidents.
This somewhat specialization of roles characterizing the two parties might help to explain, for instance, the passivity, relative to the Democrat presidents, of Republican presidents (excepting Reagan who had come to the Republican party from the Democrat party)as well as of the recent Republican controlled Congress.
I wonder if it isn't good to look at the Republicans as having a culture which is consistent with a reactive role to and in that way subordinate role to the Democrats. They are constrained to operate within the limits of Democrat policy imagination. To be successful a Republican presidential candidate has to demonstrate particular competence at remediation rather than at taking an initiative.
It is almost as if our two main political parties have a co-dependency relationship in which the Republicans have the role of the enabler. The Republicans make it possible for the Democrats to return to power. They return the nation to a normalcy so people forget the Democrats' mistakes. And Republicans being stuck in a remedial role become easy targets for claims that they are retrograde in some fashion (That they are do-nothing perhaps).
I've heard one media person ask whether a possible 2012 GOP candidate, one who wants to pursue fiscal issues and put social issues on hold, doesn't represent what the GOP needs.
This candidte's administration would be confined to a role assigned to it, so to speak, by Obama & Co.
Deja vue all over again.
The cycle continues.
Another reason to see the GOP and the Democrats more as one than two entities. Another reason to believe neither can be relied upon to provide the leadership the nation so desperately needs.