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Thursday, November 09, 2006


So. What Now?

Just Think:

The first female Speaker of the House.
The first Muslim Congressman.
The first Jewish governor of the state of New York.
The first African-American governor of Massachusetts.
The highest-ranking transgendered official in American history.
A record number of gay elected officials.
I believe a record number of women in the Senate.
Santorum lost by EIGHTEEN points.
Rumsfeld is history.
Heck, even Lady Bunny was pleased.

The House. The Senate. The Governor's Houses. All transformed. It was a great day for progressives, yes.

BUT. It wasn't a slam dunk. The most homophobic member of the House of Representatives, Marilyn Musgrave, was re-elected handily, as was the terror that is Jean Schmidt and the anti-gay Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Seven out of eight anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives passed handily. Racism won out over quality leadership in Tennessee, much to the nation's shame.

In the end, what becomes clear to me is the following:

1) THIS IS NOT A MANDATE. It would be foolish for Democrats to think this election was about them...it wasn't. It was about the myopia of Republicans, NOT an endorsement of an aggressively liberal social agenda. Pelosi is on the right track with bread-and-butter issues: minimum wage increase, drug reform, student loan rate decreases. But if she starts to explore the ancient past (weapons of mass destruction, etc.), Americans will boot them out in '08 as fast as they did the Republicans.

2) THE CENTER REASSERTS ITSELF. Gay issues lost, and pro-gun, pro-life Democrats won. What does that tell you? It means that moderates switched sides in 2006...and therefore decided to stay in the center. Liberals and conservatives remain the fringes.

3) STAY ON GUARD. BUSH IS PISSED. As Andrew Sullivan points out, Bush was very, very angry during his press conference yesterday. It's the first time he's ever been forced to face reality on Iraq, and the first time he's ever had to throw a friend (Rumsfeld) down the well. He'll be on the lookout for payback.

3) THE MIDWEST AND ROCKIES TURN PURPLE. There's blue in them thar hills.


What are you reading in the tea leaves?



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