From his seat in the Inaugural reviewing stands, Speaker Boehner saw the same impressive scene, and he may have grasped its implicit message. The large and diverse crowd personified the Obama coalition -- and the mortal threat that it represents to traditional American politics, always dominated by white men of means.
Of course, the Republicans still have the Right-Wing Machine churning out propaganda to rally the party's angry white-male base. Plus, the GOP is coming up with more new plans for minimizing the votes of black and brown people and maximizing the political clout of whites, such as a scheme in Pennsylvania to apportion presidential electors based on the Republicans' gerrymandered congressional districts.
But Boehner seems to sense that something fundamental has changed. Perhaps he was playacting a bit when he warned fellow Republicans that Obama hoped to "annihilate" the Republican Party. But -- overdramatized or not -- Boehner's alarm suggests that finally it is the Republicans who are afraid.