The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I'm thrilled with the results
The House was not really a surprise. Charlie Cook said the pickup would be 20-35 seats. I said 25, and I'm very happy that it looks like my number was indeed conservative and something closer to the wave I imagined but didn't predict has happened - lots of Republican incumbents lost close races (Sweeney losing to Gillibrand in Saratoga, for example). The final House pickup looks like it will be around 35, which is fairly remarkable considering the Republican landslide of 1994 was 54 seats, but 98 seats were considered competitive that year. Nowadays, thanks to Republican gerrymandering, only about 40 seats are considered demographically competitive. So this is, in some ways, a more impressive sweep than 1994.

In the Senate, I have to say I am extremely pleasantly surprised. I dislike George Allen immensely - I think he is the most dangerous kind of politician - so if that result holds up I will be thrilled to see his political career effectively ended. I didn't think Jim Webb was compelling enough to win, but it looks like he is. Claire McCaskill's win in MO is wonderful - she will be a fantastic Senator, and is a person to look out for on the national stage. She's extremely articulate. It's sad that Ford lost in Tennessee, but he'll be back. He's a great politician who lives in the wrong state. John Tester made things a little close for comfort in Montana, but that is now a Democratic state... hopefully brings much of the west into contention in 2008.

I know this is an annoying comment, but it's true: the challenge has just begun. Democrats must capitalize upon this opportunity and improve the country in the next two years. That's why we elect them - not just to be part of the winning team, which I feel sucks up too much effort. We vote for them because we think they're better at governing. Now they've got to put up.
posted by CB @ 3:34 PM  
  • At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Bryce said…

    First, congratulations. The Democrats won a well-deserved victory and earned a chance to demonstrate that they can govern effectively.

    Personally, I'm pleased that they won. A divided government is more effective at passing beneficial legislation and creating sound policy. As the last few years have demonstrated, carte blanche can be a disaster.

    That said, I think democrats have substantial challenges. They have won this election because the country wants to take the war in a new direction. If the party cannot effect a change over the next two years, you could see a backlash in 2008.

    Here are my top five mistakes the Deomcrats should avoid over the next two years:

    (1) Calling for impeachment hearings
    (2) Substantially raising taxes
    (3) Defunding the war in Iraq
    (4) Pushing drastic social change (e.g. federal recognition of gay marriage, etc.)
    (5) Keeping Nancy Pelosi as the house speaker. (She was great at firing up the party for elections, but she will be too radical for mainstream america by 2008.)

    Finally, a word on Rumsfeld. I'm absolutely mystified as to why Bush didn't fire him before the elections. There are a whole lot of pissed off Republicans right now.

  • At 6:13 PM, Blogger CB said…

    Bryce -
    Good analysis, but I'll take you to task on #5. I think the Nancy Pelosi thing is a red herring. It asserts that it's not possible to be more liberal than the median in your caucus while running the caucus to cater to that median. It's not the speaker's job to make everyone agree with her. It's the speaker's job to manage the docket and the caucus so its collective views get expressed in legislation. So who cares if Nancy is more liberal? It's on her to step up to the job and steer the ship. And I'm confident she can do that while avoiding being too lefty on TV.

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