Some thoughts on the task ahead for the GOP:

1. Right now the attention of the country is (understandably) riveted on Obama and the Democratic Congress. There’s not a great deal Republicans can, or even should, do about that. Democrats hold the reins of power; their fate is now largely in the hands of Democrats. If the Democrats succeed and the nation prospers, they will be hard to dislodge. If they fail and the country falters, they’ll pay a price. The philosophical significance of the Obama presidency depends on whether he governs successfully (as did FDR) or poorly (as did Carter). It’s premature for either side to pretend it knows whether or not Tuesday’s election is a hinge point in American politics.

2. Republicans should avoid petty, small-minded criticisms of Obama. The public can sense when politicians are trying to manufacture criticism and outrage. That is what Republicans need to guard against: a reflexive tendency to lash out, particularly when the public is weary of such things after a seemingly endless campaign.

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