Let's break it down for cowardly Blue Dog Dems: there was an election, Democrats presented their ideas, Tea Party Republicans presented theirs; the American Citizenry, from sea to shining sea, rejected radical Republican ideas and candidates at every level and put in place progressive candidates and progressive policies with resounding votes. This win includes the number of votes that went to House Democrats vs. House Republicans.
Democrats won an amazing victory. Not only did they hold the White House despite a still-troubled economy, in a year when their Senate majority was supposed to be doomed, they actually added seats.
Nor was that all: They scored major gains in the states. Most notably, California - long a poster child for the political dysfunction that comes when nothing can get done without a legislative supermajority - not only voted for much-needed tax increases, but elected, you guessed it, a Democratic supermajority.
So President Obama has to make a decision, almost immediately, about how to deal with continuing Republican obstruction. How far should he go in accommodating the G.O.P.'s demands?
My answer is, not far at all. Mr. Obama should hang tough, declaring himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of letting his opponents inflict damage on a still-shaky economy.
In saying this, I don't mean to minimize the very real economic dangers posed by the so-called fiscal cliff that is looming at the end of this year if the two parties can't reach a deal. Both the Bush-era tax cuts and the Obama administration's payroll tax cut are set to expire, even as automatic spending cuts in defense and elsewhere kick in thanks to the deal struck after the 2011 confrontation over the debt ceiling. And the looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts looks easily large enough to push America back into recession.
Nobody wants to see that happen. Yet it may happen all the same, and Mr. Obama has to be willing to let it happen if necessary.