Steve Chapman
On Wednesday morning, sober conservatives pondered an election defeat, swallowed their disappointment and turned their attention to things that truly affect their lives, such as work and family. But there are other conservatives, who were profoundly affected by their collision with reality.

Upon learning of Barack Obama's victory, they envisioned themselves in one of two movies: "Man on a Ledge" or "Braveheart." The first group fell into utter despair. The second chose furious defiance. All agree the apocalypse is at hand. The argument is only about what to do next.

Why the reaction should be so intense is a mystery. We have already had four years of Obama, and the consequences have been endurable, if not enjoyable to all.

Capitalism is managing tolerably well, with the stock market up dramatically since he took office. Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen. The Bush tax cuts have survived. So has the Second Amendment. We remain the premier military power on the planet.

In fact, things have not changed a whole lot. But somehow, the alarmists believe that a second term will usher us into a totalitarian hell.

"It really is liberty versus tyranny," declared Rush Limbaugh in a fit of gloom, pleading to listeners, "I'd love to be talked out of it." He will not be talked out of it by Robert Stacy McCain, who wrote in The American Spectator that "America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption, and any talk of the future fills me with dread and horror."

We can hope they enlist the help of Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer, who said, "As a psychiatrist, I will offer to write prescriptions for anyone who needs them right now."

Donald Trump took the defeat as grounds not for despondency but -- his word -- "revolution!" He shouldn't expect an argument from radio talk show host Mark Levin. "We do not accept bipartisanship in the pursuit of tyranny," he thundered. "We will not negotiate the terms of our economic and political servitude."

Levin imagines himself as Mel Gibson's William Wallace, who chose death over submission to a despot, shouting "Freedom!" as he died. But this is not commitment to principle. It is, as Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan marveled, "delusion and mania."

The hysterics' definition of tyranny is being forced to buy health insurance to prevent them from becoming public charges -- under terms identical to those prescribed by the man who was supposed to save us from servitude, Mitt Romney.

It's returning to a top marginal tax rate lower than the one that prevailed during most of Ronald Reagan's time in office. It's keeping entitlements Republican presidents preserved and even expanded.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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