Measuring the relevance of important dates usually comes later. Some, like 1941 and 9-11, are immediately obvious, others need time to sink in. In October of 1929, nobody thought "wow, we're starting the Great Depression."
Often converging events need their dots connected. The year 2009 had a lot of converging events.
Like 1929, 2009 started with a new President and large majorities for his party in both houses of Congress where the numbers are strikingly similar – 58-39-1 and 267-167-1 then for Republicans, to 58-40-2 and 256-178-1 for Democrats now. Biggest difference was Herbert Hoover won by 17 percent to Obama's 7 percent, and carried 41 of 48 states.
The 1930 election gave Democrats eight more Senators and 53 Representatives. GOP popularity sank while Hoover instituted counter-productive proto-New Deal measures. He was smashed in 1932 by FDR and Democrats gained 90 more House seats and 13 Senators. After FDR's 1936 re-election, it was 76D, 16R, 4I, and 331D-76R-4I.
The tide turned in 1938 with heavy Republican gains. The New Deal was out of gas, unemployment was rising and an arrogant President tried packing the Supreme Court. The events of 2009 are accelerating and compacting that process for President Obama, who is far more arrogant and less skilled than FDR.
As Michael Barone notes, 60-plus years of mounting federal bureaucracy make it impossible for any President to do what FDR did when he told Harry Hopkins to simply put the unemployed on the government payroll. "Shovel-ready jobs" are a myth. Civil service, due process, union deals and environmental regulations make it impossible to hand anybody a shovel without months, often years of red tape. Unemployment will remain high until the private sector creates more jobs.
FDR and other successful Presidents focused on implementing the popular portions of their agenda first. Obama and Democrat Congressional leaders in 2009 exposed the degeneration of the federal legislative process in forcing an unpopular health care measure upon too many people. In doing so, they exhibit a political cluelessness rivaling those members of Czar Nicholas II's Court ,who had no idea who Vladimir Lenin was up to the moment he had them shot.
Too many liberals look down their elitist noses at millions who are part of the latest populist reaction to bad governance that emerged in 2009 in the Tea Party movement. About the only thing that could prevent massive Republican gains, including the White House in 2012, would be the failure of the GOP to absorb Tea Parties and force them into their own party. The only hope for liberal Democrats is that the GOP is as inept as they are.
The year 2009 also exposed the massive manipulation occurring by pseudo-scientists supposedly compiling the climate data used to justify their political agenda. While attention focused on the sleazy e-mails (probably leaked, not hacked), more relevant was the databases exposed that have folks like Russian scientists wondering where the real data they sent disappeared to. Warm Earthers and their Democrat co-religionists took a bath on this one.
Strikingly obvious in 2009 was the almost total collapse of the old elite and in-bred media. They've been gradually replaced by a combination of cable news, talk radio and the internet, which continue to report what they ignore or, worse, misunderstand.
Finally, only the clueless believe "there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats." The year 2009 ended with all 60 Democrat and Independent senators voting for Obamacare and all 40 Republicans voting against it. Polarization and partisanship have never been greater.
That polarization gives us the clarity needed to make real decisions and exposes the trite notion that somehow everything can be compromised. It may well be the greatest contribution we got from 2009.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.