My understanding is that President-Elect Barack Obama already gets it, but to effectively govern he needs to quickly move rightward in ways that will require many of his liberal supporters to be patient. In the next few days expect Obama to reach out to John McCain supporters with specific and unequivocal moves that signal his intention to govern from the center.
The facts are these:
Obama finished last night with at least 364 electoral college votes.
Congressional Democrats, in a historically rare achievement, picked up back-to-back gains in both the House and Senate in 2006 and again in 2008.
President Bush currently enjoys the lowest job approval ratings in the history of job approval ratings. He dare not show his face outside the White House.
We're in the middle of two disastrously handled wars and our economy is in the toilet. Americans correctly blame the Republicans for this.
We're about to finish up eight years of Republicans running the government (the last two of which were mainly achieved by bringing it to a grinding halt through constant filibustering). During that time they've run roughshod over every Democratic attempt at cooperation.
The fact that Democrats could--on this morning of all mornings in the history of creation--be entertaining talk about the importance of not making the Congressional Republicans feel left out is proof that victory hasn't changed the party too much.
New Rule: For the next four years, Republicans, bipartisan participation is a privilege, not a right. You have to earn it or shut up. There's serious work for the government to do, and precious little time to get it done. The party that believes "government is the problem" is not an obvious candidate to be part of the solution.