Democrats are now at risk of post-Bush stress disorder (PBSD), a trauma that can cripple their efforts to adjust to everyday life in a new era. Their longtime enemy—potent Republicans—is gone, a mere memory of pain. But Republican ways of thinking have infected the minds of too many Democrats. More than a few have fallen into the GOP habit of selling out to corporate interests (the $1.5 million that health-related lobbies contributed to Max Baucus in 2007–08 goes a long way in Montana), pandering to banks, and reflexively assuming that just because the Pentagon recommends escalation in Afghanistan, it must be necessary. These habits will have to be broken if the Democrats are to stay in power…

It’s 2009, not 1994 or 2002. Conservatives are noisy but irrelevant, and moving right to please them is not smart politics. It’s time for Democrats to shed their old hang-ups—and prepare for the new political combat of the 21st century.