Now the thrill is dimmed, with a series of grinding, petty fights ahead. Certainly, there’s a sense among Democrats that they’re happy Obama is president; the race was close enough that they got a metallic taste of how bad the country would have been if that bunch of backward Republicans got in.

But the cost of W.’s misbegotten wars and his mishandling of the economy overwhelmed Obama’s first term. And Obama underwhelmed on traits everyone thought he’d excel at: negotiating, selling, charming, scaring, bully-pulpiting, mobilizing, dealing with Capitol Hill and, especially, communicating. It’s taken the White House four years to develop a coherent message: Pay your bills.

Washington’s mood is as gray as the weather, full of burning Republicans and yearning Democrats.

We’re facing default. Again.

We’re mired in partisan trash-talking. Still.