1. Scott Brown won the senatorial election in Massachusetts. Armed with the undemocratic filibuster, Republicans can block health care reform. What was on the brink of passage is now on life support. Since this legislation was Obama's chief domestic priority, its potential failure can only weaken his presidency. In addition, Brown's victory is already energizing Republicans heading into midterm elections.
2. The Supreme Court's ruling rejecting corporate campaign spending limits sets the stage for the unprecedented corruption of our democracy. As Jonathan Alter states, "If Exxon wants to spend $1 million (a bar tab for Big Oil) defeating an environmentalist running for city council, it can now do so." This is particularly disastrous for Democrats, as noted by The Washington Post: "[The ruling] is seen as particularly helpful for Republicans because of their party's traditional bonds with industry groups and its strong opposition to financial regulations proposed by the Obama administration."
3. Though not as critical as the two events cited above, Air America Radio, a progressive media outlet that countered Limbaugh and his ilk, will cease broadcasting. Air America presented a platform to talented voices on the left who continue to broadcast: Rachel Maddow, Thom Hartmann and Randi Rhodes.
True progressives are too patriotic to give up in despair. One must, however, acknowledge that we're in for a wild and challenging ride as the new year begins. If you're a liberal Democrat, you may be advised to hold on to your hat–and, at times, to clutch your stomach.