From the all-wise Charlie Pierce (via Eric Alterman's Altercation):
P.S. -- But, before I disappear for a while, a word about mandates. A mandate never really exists, not even as a result of an actual landslide. It is not something you win; just ask Tom DeLay and the Impeachers, if you don't believe me. It's something you claim. It is something you are granted, usually by people who ought to know better. It's a vast and enormous bluff. Quite simply, if the Democratic senators follow Recommended Plan A above, then C-Plus doesn't have a mandate, no matter how hard Little Russ stamps his feet when Jack Welch whistles. And anybody who thinks 51 percent is license to end the progressive income tax, chloroform Social Security, create a permanently troglodytic federal judiciary, invade Teheran, and generally take the national polity back to the 1890's is betting heavy behind a low pair. Don't fold. Don't call. Raise.