Here's why it's hard to see anything positive coming out of this debacle. Stephen Bainbridge, an intelligent man and one of the few conservatives who also found Bush and Cheney appalling, can write this:

Obama and the Congressional Democrats (especially in the House) governed for the last year as though the median voter is a Daily Kos fan.

This must come as some surprise to most Daily Kos fans. But if one had traveled to Mars and back this past year and read this statement, what would you assume had happened? I would assume that the banks had been nationalized, the stimulus was twice as large, that single-payer healthcare had been pushed through on narrow majority votes, that card-check had passed, that an immigration amnesty had been legislated, that prosecutions of Bush and Cheney for war crimes would be underway, that withdrawal from Afghanistan would be commencing, that no troops would be left in Iraq, that Larry Tribe was on the Supreme Court, that DADT and DOMA would be repealed, and so on.

But when even a sane and honest person like Bainbridge has lapsed into believing the FNC mantra, you realize that ideology has simply altered our understanding of reality. I note that Peter Berkowitz, another sane conservative, notes "extreme partisanship" on health insurance reform - but sees it as entirely a Democratic failure!

Bainbridge is admirably candid about GOP failures, which makes him far more credible than the FNC crowd. But here is his wish list of things not to do in the last few months of Democratic majorities:

Just say no to:
  • Financial regulation that restricts growth and investment (did the pro-regulation types learn nothing fromĀ The Sarbanes-Oxley Debacle?
  • Additional stimulus (a.k.a. pork) spending
  • Obamacare-lite
  • Corporate welfare (for once)
  • Bigger entitlement programs
  • New wars of choice

No financial regulation; no health insurance reform (or rather the tinkering that McCain prposed, which would do almost nothing to contain costs and nothing to insure more people); no more stimulus; maintenance of the entitlement crisis; and no more wars of choice (as if Obama were even proposing one). The premise must be that the US need not address its fundamental problems. It can just ignore them for a while longer, while Stephen dreams of a libertarian nirvana and asks the GOP to propose specific spending cuts.

Dream on.