Democrats blew it. In just two years, they managed to squander an ocean of goodwill and hope, resulting in a trouncing at the hands of Republicans—and their long slog on the health care bill was to blame. That's the prevailing narrative, anyway. At Slate, William Saletan suggests this view forgets that the purpose of winning elections is to enact difficult, bold legislation—not the other way around. The "big picture isn't about winning or keeping power," he writes. "It's about using it."
And for all the mud slung at the Democratic leadership, they used their power. The health care bill was hugely significant, and it's not going anywhere. Sure, Republicans can win back House seats that are historically theirs to begin with in the worst economy in decades. But will they be able to get votes to charge seniors more for medication? Kick 25-year-olds off their parents' insurance? Please. A 2010 toast to Pelosi is in order. "If John Boehner is speaker of the House for the next 20 years," Saletan writes, "he'll be lucky to match her achievements."