The We-Are-Not-The-Republican Party appears to be headed nearthe higher end of reasonable expectations. The DPJ must be wishing that they had so many juicy issues to define themselves against, or, alternatively, that they had as many issues to define themselves with. With both sides lacking definition, the incumbent here enjoys a persistent edge.
Some people see a silver lining for the Republicans: they can slough off some of the blame for the next two years for hardship on the Democrats. I don't believe that. As Shinzo Abe must have thought when he politely rejected Yoshiro Mori's suggestion that he give this one to faction sempai Yasuo Fukuda, a win is a win, take it when you can get it.
For me, Charlie Crist running away from George Bush was the defining moment of this election: another example of, win now, worry later. Al-Maliki? He's scrambling.