Thomas Paine said that “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” With Congress’ approval rating at a stunning 13 percent, it doesn’t appear that many people disagree with Paine’s analysis.

Now, with a new Congress ready to take charge, many are excited about the possibility that the accelerating, anti-constitutional power of government over its citizen serfs will be reversed. But what’s the likelihood it will really happen?

In an outgoing flurry of activity, Democrats and progressive Republicans flipped one last gigantic bird to America’s Main Streeters. Some were shocked at the audacity, but those of us who have become cynical watching decades of political sewage pouring out of Washington were not surprised by the government’s contempt for voters.

Now, the big question is, will Republicans be able to start turning things around before 2012? I believe the answer to that question lies in how successful they will be at cornering Obama into no-win situations. Politics, you say? Yes! Do you believe these fire-breathing, anything-goes political animals are going to respond positively to reason? BHO’s entire adult life has been one big game of political one-upsmanship.

For example, regardless of which way the economy appears to be going, BHO will be prepared to take the high road. If the tax compromise produces a temporary, illusory effect on the economy, he will claim that he turned things around by endorsing a tax cut for all Americans.

On the other hand, if the illusion of a turnaround does not come about, his position will be, “To show bipartisanship, I decided to give Republicans a chance and go along with their insane idea to give billions of dollars away to the wealthiest Americans, and, predictably, it didn’t work. Now we’re going to get back to doing things my way so we can grow this economy.” That will give him a perfect excuse for returning to policies that are based on a system that all straight-thinking people realize has never worked: socialism.

So, as much as I hate to say it, I believe the tax-compromise legislation that came out of the lame-duck session is a bad sign of things to come. And keep in mind that two of the really good guys in the House – Paul Ryan and Ron Paul – voted for it.

In all fairness, Ron Paul’s explanation of why he voted for the bill had merit. Being a strict anti-tax, anti-regulatory, constitutionalist, Paul took a principled stand and said he would never vote for a tax increase on anyone, no matter how much bad stuff he had to swallow.

Ryan was not as clear, saying only that if taxes go up, “that’s going to harm the people I represent.” Which was true. But he also said, “A lot of people are making these political arguments, which are, ‘What is the proper political chess move against Obama?’ And that is not the way we should be thinking right now when it comes to jobs and economy.”

Were it not for the fact that the U.S. government has become the intolerable evil Thomas Paine alluded to, I would agree with Congressman Ryan. But the reality is that we have a criminal, Constitution-hating government headed by an angry young Marxist intent on bringing the United States down to the level of Third World countries. Sorry, but it’s a chess game whether Republicans like it or not. And if they refuse to play, they will get checkmated all over the board by default.

That said, I have to agree with Charles Krauthammer, who believes that Obama snookered Republicans on the so-called tax-compromise bill. However, to me, the most important reason Republicans should not have gone along with the tax compromise is that it was a continuation of their decades-old habit of acquiescing to Democratic blackmail. And with each new blackmail success by the Dems, the country moves further into debt, further to the left and further into the tar pit of tyranny.

Republicans should have checkmated the chess master in the White House on this one. By letting taxes go up on Jan. 1, they could have boxed Obama into a no-win situation: lower taxes on everybody, no estate taxes and no extension of unemployment benefits. (I italicized the latter because it was the heart and soul of the blackmail, yet pundits didn’t talk about it much.)

In this scenario, if Obama caved in and went along with a Republican version of a tax-and-spending reduction bill in January, he undoubtedly would have found himself with one or more primary challenges for the 2012 Democratic nomination – which is why I don’t believe he would have given in to Republicans.

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More likely, he would have fought against them to the bitter end, even while the economy was moving toward the Greatest Depression. Then, he would have blamed the economic holocaust on higher taxes caused by the Republicans’ refusal to compromise – and Republicans could have had a field day campaigning on a promise to lower taxes for everyone.

While Obama has 35-40 percent of the electorate locked up regardless of what he does, he would have had to convince at least another 10 percent of the walking dead that higher taxes on the rich and increased spending would ultimately lead to entitlement nirvana.

Regardless, if Republicans make the mistake of running the wrong candidate (the best they could come up with in 2008 was John McCain!), they’re toast. But with a fearless, tax-cutting, anti-spending libertarian-centered conservative, they could win.

Bottom line: I never worry about Democrats. Trying to proselytize them is en enormous waste of time. But I do worry about Republicans, who seem eternally destined to give in to Democratic blackmail because they “have no choice.” Actually, strike the word eternally. If Republicans don’t man up soon, the job of fundamentally transforming the United States into a left-wing dictatorship cannot be more than a few short years away.