I was right about one thing. I predicted the turnout on Tuesday would be high, like Presidential election year high, and it was.
Everything else I predicted? Wrong. I thought we'd keep both the House and the Senate, regardless of what the prognosticators said.
Iraq and the economy. One is going badly, the other is going along swimmingly well, yet the Democrats were able to convince a good portion of Democratic and Independent voters that they were right.
I wrongly believed that a political party couldn't win something with nothing. But that's what happened. They won, but it wasn't quite the spanking many have called it. Thirty seats in the House, six in the Senate and six governorships. I might call it a wave, but only in the sense that the tide seemed to seep into states like Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, usually reliable Red States.
And the wave was made possible and was successful, in part, because of ballot initiatives like increasing the minimum wage, gay marriage, stem cell research and immigration reform, all huge, winning issues for the Democrats.
Why did we lose? Historically, we were bound to lose our Majority in the sixth year of the Bush Presidency. But from a legislative standpoint, had Majority Leaders Frist and Hastert actually led Congress and gotten things done, like Social Security reform, making the Bush tax cuts permanent and doing something about illegal immigration, the election results would have been much different.
And the Democrats played the game better than we did. They did what Democrats always do: They pretend they are Republicans. Many of the new Democrats elected to the House are described as being 'conservative or moderate Democrats.' That should change pretty fast come January.
I'm disgusted that a Liberal lightweight like Claire McCaskill defeated a substantive guy like Jim Talent in Missouri. I'm disgusted that Michael Steele lost in Maryland. I'm disgusted that New Jersey elected a corrupt Liberal slimeball like Bob Menendez over Tom Kean, Jr. (Of course, its not all bad news. For example, I'm thrilled that Bob Corker beat Harry Ford and held Tennessee, and I'm ecstatic that RINO Lincoln Chafee went down in Rhode Island.)
Yes, my friends. The perception this year was that the GOP wasn't doing anything. And that killed us at the ballot box on Tuesday.
Many of you know me personally. You know that I'm an optimist, so I think I'm okay with the House being controlled by the Dems. I know that Wall Street loves divided government. From a pocketbook perspective, that could be profitable for all of us. From a legislative vantage point, I'm less enthused, but I'll keep an open mind. (I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall today at the Bush/Pelosi lunch.) The Democrats are saying they will lead, saying that they will be bi-partisan. They are saying they won't launch investigation after investigation into Halliburton and Katrina.
They would be smart not to do so because it would cement continued GOP dominance in '08 and beyond. No the Dems would be wise to play nice, cooperate with the Bush Administration and get things done for the country, like they say they want to do.
I know I'm much less okay with the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid? Gag. Patrick Leahy is now chairman of Judiciary, which means that if/when there are additional Supreme Court vacancies these next two years, a Roberts or Alito type judge won't have a chance in hell of getting confirmed.
About Rumsfeld. His resignation has obviously been in the works a few weeks now, although we just learned about it yesterday. I'm annoyed with Bush for not making this change earlier, because it could have made a big difference. I think the country was waiting for the President to acknowledge that things in Iraq are not what they should be, and a stepping-aside by Rumsfeld would have assuaged many voters.
W's been wholly supportive of Rummy for six years and even came out in complete support last week saying that the Defense Secretary would serve the remainer of Bush's term. Dumping Rummy now in favor of one of his dad's old cronies, makes the President look desperate and weak, the exact opposite of how he should be looking, although one could also consider the resignation to be smart politcs, given the fact that it now robs Democrats of myriad opportunities they would have sought to make Congressional theatre out of Rumsfeld and the mistakes in Iraq.
Here's my biggest concern. Tuesday's elections will be viewed as a repudiation of Bush policy. Just how much has the United States been weakened in the eyes of the Muslim extremists with the Democratic takeover of Congress?