Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Aftermath

Voting results showing that it would appear the Democrats have narrowly won the House of Representatives and may still capture the Senate.

In essence, the Democrats are now the dog that chases cars and finally caught one. Now that they caught it, they need to figure out what to do with it.

But while they're still doing their chicken dance, they want to remember this: it was very close, and it remains very close.

Here's what I mean:

-- Democrats and the media have characterized the election as a referendum on Iraq. But exit polls show that three-quarters of the voters were most concerned about corruption, reports the AP -- an issue the Democrats are hardly exempt from -- see: Reid, Hevesi, Menendez, Jefferson...

-- Voters rejected antiwar extremists like Ned Lamont, who repeatedly attacked the U.S. policy on Iraq but failed to explain how retreat and cowardice will keep us safe. Lamont was essentially crushed by incumbent Joe Lieberman, who won handily by an 8-percent margin.

-- Lieberman says he is unbeholden to the Republicans as he returns to the Senate. But in reality, it is the Democrats who abandoned him that he owes nothing to -- giving him freedom of action to operate as an independent.

-- Even if the Democrats win both houses, what can they do about the President's Iraq policy? Speaking on CBS last evening, Clinton White House Spokesman Mike McCurry summed it up this way: very little. Foreign policy is the domain of the administrative branch of our federal government. By attacking the current policy and promising change, they've essentially written a check they can't cover -- look for some very angry voters in two years.

-- The Democrats will likely put forward legislation on issues like the environment, healthcare and minimum wage. But with only a slight majority in the House and near parity in the Senate (no matter which way the final races turn out), the Democrats will need to work with Republicans to make them stick -- they don't have the voting weight to override a presidential veto.

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