When Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, Republicans promised to turn him into another Jimmy Carter - unsuccessful, one-term Democratic President. But in order to make Obama another Carter, they needed another Ronald Reagan, and they soon discovered that Ronald Reagans don't come along every day.
Everybody wishes to be like Reagan because he was successful – during his time the whole Soviet empire crumbled, the economy created 20 million jobs, the spirit of the country went up, and it was morning in America again – what's not to like?
No Republican members of the House or Senate have been willing to work with President Obama since his appointment. Mike Lofgren had been a Republican congressional staff member for 28 years, but began to worry about the Tea Party when they declined to back up the usual increase in America's debt ceiling.
Arlen Specter was elected to the US Senate from Pennsylvania as a moderate Republican. He later became a Republican Presidential candidate, but left the Party when Republicans refused to support emergency spending at the height of the global financial crisis. Arlen Specter's defection gave democrats and President Obama an important 60th senate vote to overcome a filibuster and it made possible not just the rescue of the US economy but Obama's landmark health care reforms.
It's not just old style republican moderates like Arlen Specter that find they no longer have a home in the republican party – any Republican member of congress now who works across the aisle with democrats to try to get something done can now face a conservative challenger from the Tea Party – the result, the 112th congress elected in 2010 was officially the least productive and most partisan congress in American history – quite simply without compromise from both sides, this place doesn't work.