The editors of the Wall Street Journal offer some sage observations. Lest congressional Democrats run amok once they hold all the levers of political power in Washington, we should pay attention.
The Democratic temptation will be to interpret this victory as a mandate for renewed liberal government. Republicans hope they do. The last three times the Democrats won this kind of victory -- in 1964, 1976 and 1992 -- they overreached and suffered big losses two years later. Many of the committee Chairmen who will preside over the 111th Congress were part of those earlier majorities. They believe in their own agenda more than they do in Mr. Obama.
We'd note in particular that Mr. Obama ran as a tax-cutter for "95% of workers," promising tax rates "less than they were under Ronald Reagan." This is only one of the ways that the skillful candidate was able to disguise the details of what was the most left-of-center Democratic agenda since the early 1970s. The exit polls showed that among the 70% of voters who believe their taxes will go up under Mr. Obama, 55% voted for Mr. McCain. Democrats raise taxes in a recession at their peril.
No lasting change can come from unilateral changes, no matter how just their sponsors perceive them to be. By rising above partisan politics we can craft laws and regulations that won't be scrapped when the pendulum swings back to the right. Politics is the art of the possible.