Conrad Black explains in a National Review Online column why the results of this month’s elections send a positive message about the American political scene.

The generally predicted, long-awaited, and richly deserved rout of Obamaism in what was its last election has been the most hopeful political event in the U.S. since George H. W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis in 1988. This latest blessed event was highlighted by the opening of the trap-door under Harry Reid and his disappearance with the speed of gravity as the serious impediment to American government that he has been these eight years as Senate majority leader. As has so often happened recently, the defeated party has responded with complacency tempered only by blinks and glottal noises of disbelief. The president has implied that he can ignore the results and do as he wishes by executive order and exercise of his foreign-policy power (an incongruous position to be adopted by someone who infamously abdicated his constitutional position of commander-in-chief to the entire Congress rather than enforce his loudly proclaimed red line against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s gassing of his own citizens). Mr. Obama professes to believe that the public suffered “an inexplicable tantrum” but is relieved that it is directed against Washington generally and against the inability of Washington as a bipartisan whole to take effective action.

A person should not be faulted for putting the best possible face on a defeat, but the shape of and the odds on the 2016 presidential-election campaign that has already begun will not pause for a day because of, or be altered in the slightest by, such wishful evasions. Next to the rejection of this failed administration and its congressional accomplices and apologists, the most hopeful current political event is the profusion of newly risen Republicans who incite at least a gleam of hope that the curtain may at last be descending on the Bush-Clinton-Obama drought of unsatisfactory government. This does not imply uniformly inadequate execution of the presidency since 1989, just a deepening pattern of it. George H. W. Bush was no Reagan, but he may, on balance, have been preferable to Clinton; George W. Bush was no Bill Clinton, but Obama has come close to inciting nostalgia for George W. Of course, Papa Bush and Bill Clinton were probably above-average presidents, and the electoral waters were muddied by a half-mad billionaire tyro, Ross Perot. But Clinton started the slide toward the subprime-mortgage disaster, opened the floodgates to terrorism by his feeble response to the Khobar, East African, and U.S.S. Cole outrages, and opened wide the artery of the current-account deficit.

By this line of thinking, of course, the last “satisfactory” government was that overseen by the 40th president.