"Don't pay attention to the prognosticators, the pundits. A bunch of them already decided that the verdict's in. They forgot that the voters in Kansas haven't gotten to the polls yet."
-George W. Bush while stumping for 5-term incumbent Jim Ryun in Topeka, KS on Nov 5, 2006.
In the end, even the pundits were surprised by the Republican collapse last night. Not only did the people of Kansas vote yesterday, they voted angry. When Jim Ryun looses his seat by a healthy margin and a Dem gets reelected as gov in KS, you know things aren't going well. That being the case, the Dems have a lot of work to do over the next two years. From the same speech, I thought the Pres had a great insight...
“Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory, and second-guessing is not a strategy.”
True that. The "Let's Change Course" platform might have shifted the balance of power, but it's certainly a case of eaisier-said-than-done. It was a convenient platform that resonated with voters, but it failed to spawn any revolutionary ideas or benchmark goals for the coming term. The Dems need to find a way to work well with the President so that things actually get done this term. They need to work on their party solidarity because they now have a more diverse party. They need to make sure they don't get so drunk on power that they fall prey to the scandal and temptations that helped derail the Republicans over the past couple of months. And, they need to be creative in finding ways to rebuild voter confidence.
If they can manage to do these things, then great. I think that we will be in a better place as a country. If they fail? They're pretty much up a creek, and it's very likely that voters will take out their anger on the Dems presidential candidate. They got what they wanted in the short run, but to make this thing work they are going to have to buckle down and not be happy with what they have accomplished. They shocked me when the results they achieved last night, and I really hope they can surpass my expectations over the next couple of years.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I didn't stay up until the wee hours of the morning to catch the final returns. A splitting headache sent me to bed at about 10:30 last night. I almost got another headache this morning when I turned on the tv to learn about the new politial landscape of the country. The first two network "news" shows I tuned into spoke nothing of congress or close races. Only in-depth analysis of Britney Spear's divorce from Kevin Federline. And people wonder why I get most of my news from PBS and the BBC.