As everyone knows, the political news just seems to be getting better and better, from Rumsfeld's resignation to George Allen's concession and the associated Democratic control of the Senate; from Ken Melman stepping down to Katharine Harris subject to a recount in Florida (karma, anyone?); from doubts about John Bolton's future career to the dawning of a new age of rational climate change and energy policy. It's easy to get giddy right now, until one starts to notice great Calvinistic clouds of self-doubt beginning to form around one's head.
No, this election wasn't about any sort of national embracement of Democratic ideals and policies - whatever they were. Hell, the Dem's barely articulated any coherent platform and when they did finally open their mouths, it managed to come out as an insult to the troops.
No, this election was a rejection of the status quo, a national turning away from the sleaze and corruption of the past few years, and dissatisfaction with a costly and an increasingly apparent pointless war. But it had nothing to do with any sort of raising of the national consciousness.
I don't mean to be a Gloomy Gus, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It's just that liberals and progressives need to keep in mind the realpolitik that they've lucked into office by being the guys not responsible for the current mess - not necessarily the guys with a better plan. Right now, John McCain has a better chance of becoming the next President than Hillary Clinton, and the nation still doesn't understand John Kerry.
On an up-note, things generally work better when the Congress and the Presidency are in the hands of different parties, and the Dems seem to have stumbled onto the formula for getting themselves elected (moderation in the south and midwest, liberalism in the west and northeast) and look like they're going to stick to that script for a while.
Anyway, that's it for now on politics. I've never been good at articulating political theory, and although I leave tomorrow morning for Boston, Massachusetts, home of Ted Kennedy and a brand-new governor, I'll let the pundits and the partisans pontificate on politics from here on in.