The dawn of a new day of bipartisanship in American politics hinges on whether the fight over health care is twilight's last gleaming

Frustrating doesn’t even begin to tell the story of Barack Obama’s presidency so far.

Frustrating is the screw-top cap you can’t get off a bottle of beer … frustrating is the strand of spinach clinging to an incisor that you don’t dare try to clean in public … frustrating is the 12th telemarketer to call during dinner.

Obama, his universe left in ashes in ruin, didn’t exude a Kumbaya outlook this afternoon when he offered a critique of his administration.

Addressing the melancholy topic of having his head handed to him on a red platter last night, Obama had to realize that without tragedy there can be no comedy. But neither he nor any Democrats today have happy clowns tumbling through their benumbed minds.

“We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things got done. I think that frustrated people,” Obama said.

Calling the Democratic defeat a “shellacking,” he congratulated his Republican opponents on their victory and said he looks forward to working with them on reducing the deficit, building a clean-energy economy, reforming education and investing in technology.

I’m not holding my breath until that all transpires in a blink of an eye.

“The most important contest we face is not between Democrats and Republicans,” Obama said. “In this century, the most important competition we face is between America and our economic competitors around the world.”

Yeah, we all fret over who is red and who is blue while China beats us all black and blue.

Obama also expressed a willingness to revisit provisions of health care reform, saying they could “tweak and make improvements” but ruled out major changes.

And here comes the rub … the fuse that could blow up any bipartisanship overtures.

Because it’s gonna be a Pier Six brawl over health care. Bare knuckles and brass knuckles. Cain vs. Abel. Ali vs. Frazier. McNabb vs. Shanahan. Keith Richards vs. Mick Jagger. Olbermann vs. O’Reilly.

House Republican Leader John Boehner, likely the new House speaker, called the Obama administration’s health care overhaul a “monstrosity” today and claimed a voter mandate to repeal it.

Boehner said “the American people were concerned about the government takeover of health care. I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”

Obama vs. Boehner. They may have to put this bout on pay-per-view.