On the downside, the Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
On the upside, crisis means opportunity. More opportunities to point out that congressional Republicans have nothing constructive to offer whatsoever.
On the downside, health-care reform is dead.
On the upside, insurance reform may live on, and forcing insurance companies to insure everyone without mandating that everyone buys insurance will create such an expensive mess that health-care reform will come back, with a vengeance.
On the downside, the crazies control the political rhetoric in America.
On the upside, powerful corporations will now be able to spend millions to counteract the crazies, because corporations have first amendment free speech rights just like people.
On the downside, free speech does not equal sensible debate, and the crazies are unable to tell the difference between sound policy and a sound byte.
(Why didn't Madison and Hamilton consider mass media markets when they wrote The Federalist Papers?)
On the upside (which sometimes gets confused with the downside), Obama will give his State of the Union address next week. He's got an opportunity to tell off the Republicans/shame the Democrats/inspire the American people/keep hope alive.
On the downside, if all he has to talk about are hard questions and difficult solutions, who will listen?
What is a handbasket anyway?