Of all the legacies to leave behind for Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts, one would have thought the Health Care battle victory would be one of them. But due to an inept campaign on the Democratic front (never take campaigns for granted--never) and a strong national surge against Obama, the Republicans have taken Kennedy's seat in the Senate.
There are two road that the Obama administration can go down now--either be aggressive in pursuing a progressive agenda, or wallow in a middle-of-the-road treading of water until 2012. At this early point in his administration, my assessment of the national pulse is that we are lurching back towards a right-wing society and that our only chance for any progressive change will have to come in this year. Democrats are bound to lose control of one or both houses of Congress, and Obama will be a figurehead in office.
There is no doubt that the right wing has turned "fear" into a franchise. That and an ability to bamboozle the public. If I were to theorize and hypothesize on the direction of our society in the future, I would mix a bit of "anti"-Marx (we are a social animal--but to turn it on its head the less social we become, the less likely for species survival) and pure Weber (consumed in self-interest, society will simply disintegrate, thus ending the species). No armageddon stories here, but dangerous fractures in an already fragmented society.
It is not a pretty picture I wake up to today.