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The Democrats’ dispirited liberal activist wing is divided and angry over Mr. Obama’s efforts to compromise with Republicans, particularly the tax-cut extension deal with Mr. McConnell. The president’s remaining agenda is dead at worst or stalled at best until after 2012.

The Republicans’ job now is to deliver on their campaign promises in a divided Congress with a Democratic president wielding his veto pen to keep the GOP juggernaut at bay.

But Republicans are championing the popular issues of the day at a time when Americans think the Democrats have overreached, that government has gotten too big, spending is out of control and the nation’s treasury is dangerously veering toward bankruptcy.

The ball is in the Democrats’ court.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist.