WASHINGTON -- Churchill's wife said that his being turned out of office by British voters in July 1945 -- the war in the Pacific still raged, and he had just returned from the Potsdam conference -- might be a blessing in disguise. He replied: It is very well disguised.
Barack Obama might not see the silver lining on the loss of the 60th Democratic Senate vote, but it has several dimensions. Consider four of them.
He now has no choice but to moderate his aggravating agenda of breaking more and more sectors of society to the saddle of the state. For example, surely only Democrats tugged by the romance of political suicide will want him to try -- he will fail -- to burden the struggling economy with cap-and-trade legislation.
This complex and costly carbon-rationing plan supposedly would combat the elusive menace of global warming. Serendipitously, on Tuesday, as Massachusetts voters were telling Obama to pause regarding health care reform, The Wall Street Journal was reporting: "An influential United Nations panel is facing growing criticism about its practices after acknowledging doubts about a 2007 statement that Himalayan glaciers were retreating faster than those anywhere else and would entirely disappear by 2035, if not sooner."
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- co-winner with Al Gore of another absurd Nobel Peace Prize -- issued the questionable 2007 report that was based on a 2005 report from an environmental advocacy group that relied on a 1999 article quoting an Indian scientist who actually did not mention 2035. Another day, another dollop of evidence of the seepage of dubious science into policy debate, and another reason to proceed cautiously.
A second strand of the silver lining on Obama's Tuesday defeat: Pruning his agenda will reduce the pandemic uncertainty -- about the future rules and costs (health care, energy, taxes) of doing business -- that is paralyzing American businesses. His fortunes will rise if, but only if, unemployment falls. So his political prosperity, like the nation's, should benefit from the temperateness that the Massachusetts result dictates.