The Democrats, as a solid Left party, know full well that the GOP is a moderate Left party hoping to ditch its fringe Conservative wing and has no burning desire to turn anything back. So even if the public punishes the Dems one eensy weensy election cycle for screwing them over so grandly, the GOP won't do anything about it, they'll just do nothing, meanwhile the Left will remind everyone what racists and woman haters and dirty air lovers etc. Republicans are. So then 2 years later people will just vote the Dems back in control. A short timeout is a tiny price to pay to put the country on the road to socialized medicine in particular and more looking to and accepting of a strong federal government for things in general. The Left won't show it (keep 'em fooled, all the time) but they're ecstatic.