Following an electoral victory, Obama is likely to face a massive challenge: The least responsible, least respected, least popular political institution in America -- the Democratic-led Congress -- would also be the most emboldened. Democratic leaders with large majorities would be pushed by conviction and hubris, and pressured by Democratic constituencies, toward divisive measures that punish and alienate businesses, seek backward-looking political vengeance and impose cultural liberalism. This predictable story of overreach, backlash and bitterness easily could destroy Obama's presidency, even before his first achievements -- unless he can suddenly find the ability to shape, tame, even fight, the self-destructive tendencies of his own party.We're talking about a Democratic Party that's still afraid of its own shadow. If the Dems wake up two weeks from now with a dozen new Democratic Senators, and 40 new Dems in the House, they'd still not have the instinct for boldness; they'd still be worried about moving too far, too fast, and offending the voters that elected them, or the pundit class, or someone.
There's no Lyndon Johnson here, ready to arm-twist extensive legislation through the Senate. There's only Harry Reid. There's no lefty equivalent of Newt Gingrich in the House, only Nancy Pelosi - constrained by Steny Hoyer (D-K Street) and his Blue Dogs.
If we were to see the total collapse of the GOP as we know it in the next few years, it would still take five years afterwards for the Dems to realize they had a clear field ahead of them, and get up the gumption to pass the sorts of programs they'd like.
Lay off the hallucinogens, Mike. For your own good.