Just in time for the holidays, we got a burst of cheery news from Washington.
Obama's surprise gift--restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba--delighted everyone tired of watching the Administration's constant compromise and retreat from the far right.
And, predictably, it brought out the Republicans' inner Grinch.
Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell fulminated. The wingnut "Obama is a socialist" Tea Partiers saw all their paranoid fantasies confirmed.
But Obama had a trump card, with the Pope on his side, not to mention the winds of history (Republicans are trying to argue that, having failed to topple the Cuban government for the last 50 years, another 50 years of sanctions and isolation should do the job).
"Our Castro Complex" by James A. Wechsler, which ran in The Progressive Magazine in 1963, is fresh today, in part because the Republican position on Cuba has been frozen in time since the Cold War.
"Indeed, there have been moments in the last two years when one was tempted to wonder whether Castro is a larger threat to our national sanity than to our military security," Weschler wrote.
Weschler, whose prediction that Castro wouldn't last now seems quaint, also pointed out how dangerous it is that Americans "regard Castro's survival as an affront to their personal manhood, and his extinction as vital to an affirmation of our national virility."
Kudos to Obama for breaking from the toxic cult of masculinity in Washington.
Along with the executive order halting family-destroying deportations, the climate deal with China, and the news that unemployment has dropped to 5.8 percent, Obama has given progressives something to celebrate, on the eve of the Republican takeover of the Senate and the largest Republican majority in the House in 89 years.
It is sobering to contemplate what 2015 will bring.
To see Ron Johnson and Paul Ryan step into key leadership roles is to see the dark side of our politics ascend.
But an opposition party that puts up some real opposition would help propel our country in a more hopeful direction.
Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-Chief of The Progressive Magazine.