If there are any patterns in American politics, one of them is that that the Republicans thrive in times of adversity, while the Democrats are at their weakest when, by rights, they should have the upper hand.
Take today's blinding election result in Massachusetts.
Ted Kennedy's election seat - held by a Democrat for decades (the same Democrat) - and in a liberal state, should have been a shoe-in for another Democratic candidate.
Instead, Republican insurgent Scott Brown sailed to victory and left behind him the scuttled remains of health care reform.
It's an astonishing failure for the Democrats - but hardly atypical. It seems whenever they're at their strongest, they wind up being at their most vulnerable. Just like in the 2004 elections - when they 'couldn't lose' against President Bush - it turns out that the American people don't seem to like the left wing getting anything too easy.
Ultimately, I'm not too disappointed. The Health Care Reform Bill- which most likely rested on the result of this election - was a limp, soulless compromise that delivered every reform the health insurance industry demanded (such as mandatory health care coverage, with fines for those who don't purchase it) with none of the ones average Americans needed (like a public option, or protection against being overcharged for pre-existing conditions.)
In the end, the bill not being passed will probably bring about as much 'reform' to the health care industry as if it had. I never thought anybody could convince me that no reform was better than half-assed reform - but ultimately that's how I ended up feeling.
Democrats? You need to get your house in order.