How can elections two years apart look so different? But Tuesday's vote seems to be the norm. Its center-right results fit into the main stream of the last 30 years far more than 2008's assumed lunge to the left.
Even the Democratic congressional sweep of 2006 was actually more in keeping with tradition. Democrats won Congress largely by recruiting centrist candidates - which created a time bomb that exploded in their faces this week, as voters in those right-leaning districts and states switched back to the Republican column.
This has me wondering if Barack Obama's election was merely an exception made possible by the alluring uniqueness of his personal history and appeal. If so, the biggest mistake Democrats made was in assuming that their recent successes were transformational, instead of merely temporary.
Craig blogs daily for CQ Roll Call