Edmund Morris performs an intellectual Cirque du Soleil act trying to shoe-horn this election into ... 1910s. The Tea Party as an echo of the Progressives? Oookaaay. Louis P. Masur, meanwhile, draws a parallel between Obama's standing today and Abe Lincoln's after his midterm election in 1862. Another stretch, but I would not under-estimate Obama's ability to pivot and come back:

Lincoln's opponents, as might be expected, interpreted the election as a repudiation of the administration and called on Lincoln to withdraw the Emancipation decree and restore habeas corpus; some even demanded that he start negotiations for peace.

Lincoln, however, viewed the elections differently. He understood that voters were unhappy with the war, particularly the stagnation of the Army of the Potomac, which had failed in its attempt to take Richmond, the Confederate capital. "I certainly know," he said, "that if the war fails, the administration fails, and that I will be blamed for it, whether I deserve it or not. And I ought to be blamed, if I could do better."

And so he set out to do better. The election results, rather than demoralizing him, energized him to be even more aggressive ...

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