Asks Wash Post col and Democratic Party hack stalwart E.J. Dionne today:
With our nation's capital now under even firmer Republican domination, conservatives are claiming a mandate for everything from the partial privatization of Social Security to a transformation of the judiciary. The moderates have a choice of going along with a swing to the right or fighting for the power to influence policies in their direction.
Leave aside whether a piddling 2 percent diversion of Social Security contributions into something approaching personal accounts is of the same nature as, say, opposition to abortion or gay marriage. More here.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Post is a chart of congressional majorities by party over the past 100 years or so. The graphic truth: for all the talk of a historically polarized nation, we're looking at among the smallest ruling majorities in recent years. If nothing else, the chart suggests the meme that were more at each other's throats than ever before is exaggerated.
As plausible (in fact, more plausible) an explanation for the slim majority we see today: We remain at near parity in party representation at both the national and state level (don't forget that the Dems picked up seats at the state level this election) because there's vast agreement on most major issues of governance.