Obama won, and the Democrats have significant (but not insurmountable) margins in Congress. In theory, they could do significant damage with this power, and some of the dire predictions are not impossible for Democrats, given the political will.
We would all do well to remember that the Democrat coalition is not a unified socialist majority marching in lockstep to a common drummer, but a collection of interest groups come together to achieve shared goals. It is easy to campaign on “hope” and “change” and nebulous government promises to help people. Far harder is agreeing on priorities and working through the mechanics given the inevitable differing priorities within your coalition.There was never enough money for the “wish list” without crushing taxes as it was, and the economic crisis doesn’t help matters. There will be inevitable fractures and tensions in the coalition when a decade of supressed desires are up for fufillment, and I doubt all will agree to wait their turn. While there will be pain, with skill and support we can adjust it to the least painful and most temporary areas. It will be imperfect and draining, but necessary in the long run.
As with all things, this too will pass. Let us be rested, invigorated, and ready when it does. Remember – we’ve been here before.