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MICHAEL GOODWIN: It's a Wonderful Country

Too bad Frank Capra's not with us anymore. If the great director could make a movie about the last week in politics, it could be called "It's a Wonderful Country." Even without Jimmy Stewart's homespun patriotism, it would be a cornball corker.

From the federal courts to the halls of Congress, the counterattack against Big Government claimed its first victories just in time for Christmas. Casualties were suffered only by those who forgot that majorities still count in a democracy.

Themes don't get any more American than that.

The bipartisan support for extending the Bush tax cuts was the first big shock wave of the November election, but not the only one.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to withdraw his earmark-larded $1.2 trillion spending bill because he didn't have the votes.

That will give the new Congress, under public marching orders to trim spending and ban earmarks, its chance to whack away.

Nearly as satisfying as the results was the scene of crybaby liberals kicking and screaming as they lost control of the country. Their comeuppance was an old-fashioned morality tale about those who try to pull a fast one on voters.

Their rude awakening is about to get ruder.

The ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that the key provision of ObamaCare -- the mandate forcing every American to buy health insurance -- is unconstitutional represents the first serious obstacle to the unpopular law.

Two days later, in a similar case brought by 20 other states, a federal judge in Florida raised the same concern, asking government lawyers if they saw any limits to Congress' authority. Could they "mandate everybody has to buy a certain amount of broccoli?" he wondered.

Nothing like plain English to make a cinematic point.

That decision is also expected to go against the law. While these cases and others that reached the opposite conclusion are certain to end up before the Supreme Court, the public desire for repeal of the government yoke is sure to have an impact.

In the middle of the rocking ship of state stands the president, or shall we say, weaves the president. Obama is trying to find a footing that will save his presidency against an attentive Congress and an energized public.
Everyone doubts his core beliefs. Liberals are furious, and conservatives don't trust him.

But he can't hide. The last two years, with great flashbacks of his lavish spending and harsh attacks on dissent, provide abundant clues about who he is.

Still, the plot needs tension, so spinners spin. An Obama ally, Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, tells Politico that "what you are seeing now is what he always wanted to be. In his heart, he's a pragmatist, not an ideologue, and he's a lot more personally comfortable with being able to engage Republicans and not be as divisive."

To believe her is to believe that the president of the United States was a victim for the last two years. It is to believe that somebody held a gun to his head and made him say all those horrible things about other Americans -- calling them "enemies" -- and push all those job-killing policies.

Or maybe the audience is supposed to believe that Obama was the victim of bad advice, that his disastrous performance should be blamed on Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers.

Right, and Obama is Santa Claus.

I'm just happy we finally have real checks and balances on his power. Already, we see again that divided government works best, and that voters, not Washington, know best.

It truly is a wonderful country.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.

Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.

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