"Refusing to take Ronald Reagan's famous advice--don't just do something, stand there--conservative machers are all in a swivet, reading the leaves of the 2008 verdict, plotting to pick off this or that set of voters, opining on what it all means. Actually, just standing there seems like a pretty good option, at least for the moment, and perhaps for the next few weeks and months. Plans made right now may turn out to be useless. There are too many things we don't know.
We don't know yet what happened on Tuesday, and what kind of win it will be: a pivotal one, like 1932 and 1980; or a transient success--1964, 1976, 1988, 2004--that at the moment appeared monumental, but four years later had turned out not to be. How much of the glow now surrounding the Democrats is due to themselves, and how much to the nature of Barack Obama, who has a personality that comes along twice in a century, and how long will this last?
Which Obama will turn up to govern, the man of moderate temperament, or the functional liberal, whose record is way left of center? When the phone rings for real at three in the morning, who will pick it up: the oh-so-cool cat who was so self-possessed while campaigning, or the neophyte who, outside of campaigning, has never faced a real test in his life? How big will the recession be, and will he prolong it? Will he gain or lose ground in the war on terror? Will we have a new terror attack? If he governs well, he will win again in the next go round, and nothing done now will change it; if he blows a big test on the world stage, then nothing will save him. No grand schemes hatched now will change that."