Republicans can prevent the passage of gun control, as they have. But when it comes to the current debate, many conservatives have been arguing that if Republicans cannot get Obama to wipe out or seriously undermine the signature legislative accomplishment of his presidency, the only reason is that Republicans lack sufficient courage. And that's a completely absurd expectation.Read, as they say, the whole thing. Note, of course, that what we're seeing here is exactly parallel to the magical thinking about the presidency that many liberals have fallen for throughout Obama's presidency. That's not to say (and Klein certainly doesn't say) that all the criticisms of either Republican Congressional leaders or the president are wrong; it's just that pretty much all of the criticisms based on the premise that if only they (he) had the guts and the dedication...if only they they really wanted whatever it is...then they could get it.*
What Klein doesn't add, but could, is that this belief in magic makes conservatives easy marks for demagogues who promise that Republicans could have everything if they just fight hard enough. Thus Ted Cruz, who really (as Ross Douthat has been pointing out lately) had nothing substantive to offer conservatives, winds up the conservative hero while those who have been working on real policy proposals lose the spotlight, at least for now.
*Which is interesting: it suggests that the problem isn't so much about the presidency per se as it is about a general reluctance to accept, and perhaps a failure to understand, Madisonian democracy.