I’m not feeling giddy as much as greatly relieved. O.K., maybe a little giddy.
–Paul Krugman

That about sums it up for me. It’s as if the biopsy results just came back and you don’t have cancer after all. You’re not giddy, exactly, but you can finally take a deep breath and maybe let some of the tension drain out of your shoulders. The future remains uncertain but you can begin to imagine it as something other than relentlessly bleak. As a general rule, I don’t have much faith in Democrats, having not fallen off any turnip trucks within recent memory, but I also think that we’re suddenly in an entirely new ball game. At the very least, I believe they will serve as a necessary bulwark against whatever residual craziness the Bushies may be harboring. They won’t be rubber stamping any plans to invade Iran this time around. And maybe they’ll even step up to the plate and hit one out of the park. They’re newly emboldened, and this is their moment. They no longer have to worry about appeasing the sort of people who believe that criticism of the president is an act of treason. Those people have been shunted aside. They’ve been put back in perspective. They were never anything more than marginal cranks, but for awhile there they managed to create their own reality, to create the illusion that they represented some sort of majority consensus in this country. Well, sorry, freaks. You can go back to typing your little manifestos and wanking over your war porn, and yelling at your mom to bring more cheetos down to the basement for you — but the country has seen you for the pathetic creatures you are, and moved on.

It’s time to have grownup conversations now. It goes without saying that the Democrats will disappoint us, one way or another. So what? The test results came back, and it’s not terminal. We got a little breathing room, and isn’t that all you can really ever hope for in life?