You could make a similar observation about the institutional design of Congress and the 2006 election. There was a huge wave of discontent with the ruling party. The body designed to be most in tune with popular opinion (the House of Representatives) flipped to the opposition by a wide margin. The body designed to be slightly more insulated from momentary shifts in public sentiment (the Senate) flipped just barely, and perhaps thanks only to one ill-chosen word from George Allen. As dissatisfaction with the GOP has persisted, the party's prospects have become even bleaker, and now it stands a pretty good chance of losing the presidency too. (And if it doesn't, it will be because the two parties responded to the situation rationally in the manner Matt describes.)
All in all, it's a fairly elegant, and yet not impetuous, means of transferring power as public opinion changes. It makes you appreciate the wisdom of the system the Framers devised--something to keep in mind next time someone tells you the U.S. would be better off with parliamentary-style government.
A yes, "fairly elegant, and yet not impetuous."*
While we were busy being elegant and restrained in our transfer of power, we only:
* allowed Al-Queda to attack
* launched two wars
* dismantled constitutional protections
* turned the Supreme Court sharply right
But hey, thanks TNR, I will keep our stately dignity in mind the next time someone suggests any variant on our system whatsoever.
* Grammar Snark Says: .... as if elegance usually goes hand in hand with impetuousness. And yet not in this case!