While the political blogsphere over here was working itself into a frenzy watching the Tory contortions over EU policy, yesterday saw the first significant elections in the US since the election of Barack Obama last November.
It's been a tough year for Obama and his approval ratings have fallen sharply. The Republican Party has remained in confusion while other conservative groups have rallied opposition to Obama. The media onslaught has been led by FOX News and in particular by Glenn Beck and watching their stomach-turning coverage at 7am this morning, it was hard to miss the gloating and glee of their various correspondents.
The Democrats had a poor but not disastrous night. The Virginia gubernatorial race was always going to be tough even though the Democrats won the State last year. The Republican McConnell won convincingly.
More of an upset occurred in New Jersey where the incumbent Democrat Governor John Corzinbe was defeated 49%-45% by Republican Chris Christie. This is a more serious result for Obama in a traditionally Democrat state.
However, it was not all bad news for the Democrats - they scored a convincing win in a New York Congressional race where the Republican dropped out and the Democrat Owens soundly defeated an American Conservative called Hoffman while in California the Democrats easily held another Congressional seat.
Hardly a rout then but plenty of food for thought for Obama and his supporters with next November's midterm elections of much greater significance.
Obama clearly needs to win back the argument on health care but may well be aided by a recovery in the US economy and it's interesting to see how it's the conservative and anti-Obama commentators such as the aforementioned Glenn Beck who seem keenest to insist there will be a double-dip recession in the New Year.