The NY Times editorially forecasts "An Invigorated Second Term," offering as proof:
The president’s victory was decisive, and many who didn’t support him nonetheless told pollsters that they agreed with his positions on taxes, health care and immigration.
George Will, though, writing on behalf of the decidedly un-Times crowd, is giddily dancing "The status quo" rag:
[V]oters ratified Republican control of the House, keeping in place those excoriated as obstructionists by the president the voters retained.
Those two sentences are lifted from two seemingly separate universes. Same election, same electorate, same issues, essentially the same pols, and yet the two Faiths--the Times' rather sedate liberalism and whatever it is George Will & Co.'s unstable ideology is calling itself these days--rematerialize in two differing eras with two entirely different interpretations as to what it all means.
The "conservative" Will (or so he fancies himself) seems to think the election was almost superfluous, a mere trifle, an expressed reconfirmation of gloriously radicalized gridlock, whereas the reformist Times seizes the profoundly traditional view of American society pulling together through a common ethos and consensual aims. My, how the orthodoxies have changed, which is to say, traded places.
But that's a different subject. The question here is, Which is reading the post-election circumstances right?
Even after "weighting" my argument for bias (it's going to take a while for us all to come down from the Age of Silver), Will's argument, I'd argue, is so inadmissible, it borders on the incomprehensible. The GOP House and its partisan-aligned state legislatures have been firewalling the former since 2010: redistricting, and not some national zeitgeist of status quo-ism, helped immensely in reseating the obstructionists--as did the power of incumbency and the electorate's exasperating habit of adoring their clown while detesting the two-ring circus of those 434 others.
Otherwise the country unmistakably moved forward. It positively hurled tea-partying wingnuts either from office or mere consideration--from West to Walsh and from Mourdock to Akin; in variously civilized locales it embraced the human right to marry a loved one of each human's choice; it even, here and there, smiled on some goofweed. What's more, it took repeated looks at Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's Gilded Age gobbledygook and said, resoundingly, No thanks, not again.
Now the real battle is joined. The election was but a preliminary. And my money is on the "invigorated" winners.