People Voted Yesterday
Political wonks and pundits from both sides of the debate are already spinning the results, and the consensus is that Emperor in Chief now faces a Congress that will no longer simply rubber stamp his wishes. Robin Toner's analysis piece in today's NY Times is a pretty thoughtful example of this kind of thinking.
Everything is different now for President Bush. The era of one-party Republican rule in Washington ended with a crash in yesterday’s midterm elections, putting a proudly unyielding president on notice that the voters want change, especially on the war in Iraq.
...For six years, Mr. Bush has often governed, and almost always campaigned, with his attention focused on his conservative base. But yesterday’s voting showed the limits of those politics, as practiced — and many thought perfected — by Mr. Bush and his chief political adviser, Karl Rove.
...Most critically, perhaps, Republicans lost the political center on the Iraq war, according to national exit polls. Voters who identified themselves as independents broke strongly for the Democrats, the exit polls showed, as did those who described themselves as moderates.
...Geoffrey Garin, a Democratic pollster, said, “An important feature of this election, with implications for 2008, is that the center of the electorate clearly
doesn’t like to be ignored in an era of base politics. The Republicans played to the base at their great peril among the middle.”
The Democrats have the House, and may still grab the Senate, depending on how the races in Virginia and Montana break, but the message still seems to be that the center has spoken, not the left.
It seems to me that the Democratic Party has to do two things in the next two years. First, it has to work hard to clean up some of the messes created by the Bush regime the last six years. Second, and just as important, it has to educate the electorate on issues beyond the Iraq War. Only by doing both jobs well will it be able to remove the opprobrium attached to the term "liberal."
Labels: Election 2006