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(UPDATED x 5) Repudiation? Mandate? Both or neither?
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, November 08, 2006

OK, where to begin? Some random thoughts on an interesting night.

As I pointed out yesterday early in the live blogging, one of the questions asked on a panel at MSNBC about whether a large win by Democrats would constitute a mandate or instead a repudiation of President Bush.

After watching last night's returns, I'm inclined to believe it is a little of both. Many of the Republican House seats which fell were in trouble anyway, such as Charles Taylor in North Carolina, Sherwood's seat in PA, Foley's seat in Florida and, Ney's seat in Ohio and DeLay's seat in Texas. But others were defeated who really had done nothing in particular to warrant it than have an "R" beside their name, such as Clay Shaw in FL, Nancy Johnson in CT and JD Hayworth in AZ. So at that point you have to buy into some of the repudiation argument. But even that's uneven. "Mean Jean" Schmidt, the freshman Congresswoman who took John Murtha on in the well of the House, squeaked out a victory. In total 9 Ohio Republicans held on. But watching most of the key Congressional districts fall one by one pretty much pointed out that whether based on repudiation of the Republicans and Bush or not, most voters were voting for change.

What that nebulous word means, in political terms, is yet to be seen, but the Dems have the House and depending on final results in MT, may pull a one vote majority in the Senate (although with Lieberman and Sanders, they have a defacto majority now ... although they don't count as such when it comes to figuring majority).

In VA Webb, with 100% precincts reporting in VA, leads by about 8,000 and in MT with 100% Tester leads by 1,500. Both are headed for recounts. I think VA will be confirmed for Webb, but I have no idea about MT. No telling how long this determination will take.

Speaking of Allen, you know you're in trouble when you run 8 points behind a marriage amendment (which passed by 57%) that should have helped you.

Yesterday I noted that the Democrats were successful in nationalizing this election. I think some of that "credit" goes to President Bush as well, who, while campaigning, made it about Iraq and taxes. Some interesting numbers on Iraq.

Exit polling showed this breakdown on the war in Iraq when the voter was asked if they supported the war in Iraq. 12% of Democrats said "yes". 79% of Republicans said "yes". But only 33% of self-identified Independents said "yes". That is where the election was lost. The Republicans lost the support of the center. Another breakdown showed 20% strongly approving the war, 22% somewhat approving, 16% somewhat disapproving and a whopping 44%.

Now the war wasn't the only reason but I believe it was the primary reason. Spending and corruption are also reasons for some of the repudiation.

So now the Dems get their chance. And after hearing all the sweet and calm talk from Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean about how they now planned to change the tone in Congress, I say I don't believe you. You had that chance in 2000 and rejected it for partisan nonsense, rhetoric and parliamentary tricks. Given that history, one has to ask, why would Republicans agree to suddenly change the tone because Democrats won and wish it? And to what advantage, politically, does such a change bring. Obviously what Republicans will try to do is cast Democrats as inept and incompetent ... precisely what Democrats have done to Republicans for years.

So despite this happy talk and because of the leadership the Dems have in place, this may be the shortest honeymoon in history and I fully expect the next Congress to be as partisan and as bickering as the 109th.

In fact, I'm counting on it.

Those are my initial thoughts on the election. I'll probably update this as I go out on the web and find the thoughts of others. Let the games begin.

UPDATE: Interesting observation from John Podhoretz:
Happy or suicidal with tonight's results, something colossal and profoundly important has happened in the United States beginning in 2000 — the re-engagement of the American people with politics. We have had four enormously consequential elections in a row now in which voters have cast their ballots in numbers that we were told we'd never see in our lifetimes. I don't see how you can view this as anything but a wondrous development for the United States.
True? If so why do you think that's the case?

UPDATE II: In reference to VA, it is possible that a final outcome, given the procedures in place for certification and recount, may not be known until early December.

UPDATE III: One thing I forgot to mention in my analysis above was the fact that even in very red GA, Bush was unable to pull off defeating two vulnerable and weak Democratic Congressmen (GA8 and GA12) even though the incumbent Republican governor defeated his Democratic challenger with 58% of the vote.

UPDATE IV: Speaking of GA, the Libertarian candidate in GA got 3.8% of the vote in the Governor's race (79,900), 3.6% in the Lt. Governor's race, 4.1% in the Sec of State race, 5.1% in the State School Supervisor's race and 3.4% in the Commissioner of Agriculture's race. In the Public Service Commission 3 race for metro Atlanta, Libertarian candidates took 4.9% and PSC 5 Western race of 4.7%.

Oh, and the amendment on the restriction of eminent domain? 82% for the restriction.

UPDATE V: One other point that you're hearing repeated - not a single Democrat standing for reelection in the House, Senate or Governorships lost their race.
 
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So now the Dems get their chance. And after hearing all the sweet and clam talk from Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean about how they now planned to change the tone in Congress, I say I don’t believe you. You had that chance in 2000 and rejected it for partisan nonsense, rhetoric and parliamentary tricks.
(Nod)
Particularly true given the noise coming from the left flank of the party, (DU/Kos/Etc) who are now, and have been for years, screaming for vengence upon GWB in the form of impeechment. Why on earth Pelosi/Reid be inclined to reject such demands?

And ’Bipartisanship", as a matter of history has only been their cry so long as they were on the losing end of elections. The tone will shift to full-goose bozo partisanship as soon as they can figure a way to blame the Republicans for the shift... and so it will remain until they’re removed again.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Of course, it also depends on the minority GOP growing a set....they barely had a spine when in power, maybe having nothing to lose will embolden them a bit.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Of course, it also depends on the minority GOP growing a set....they barely had a spine when in power, maybe having nothing to lose will embolden them a bit.
Why not ... it worked for the Dems. And it seems obvious, at least to me, that it is not in their best interest, in light of the looming ’08 elections, to allow the Democrats to change the tone.

The "tone" is part of the reason Republicans were punished. They change it now at their own political peril. And that’s why I think it’s all talk when both sides mouth the platitudes.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Was it just me or did a lot of long term incumbents get bounced.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
While I agree the election was in large part about Iraq, I think voters were punishing Bush not because we’re in Iraq, but because they think we’re losing in Iraq.

As I just posted, America sort of supports what Bush is trying to do (disclosure: I don’t) but they are upset that we’re not winning. And since we don’t like losing, we want to quit.

Contrary to conventional wisdom (and my own wishes on the matter) I think America would support a new initiative in Iraq... but only if they were convinced that it would lead to victory. Unfortunately for Bush, he has no credibility so it’s not going to happen.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
The "tone" is part of the reason Republicans were punished. They change it now at their own political peril. And that’s why I think it’s all talk when both sides mouth the platitudes.
LOL yeah but the GOP just paid the price for doing a lot of things at their political peril. They gotta show me they’ve smartened up a bit.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
While I agree the election was in large part about Iraq, I think voters were punishing Bush not because we’re in Iraq, but because they think we’re losing in Iraq.

As I just posted, America sort of supports what Bush is trying to do (disclosure: I don’t) but they are upset that we’re not winning. And since we don’t like losing, we want to quit.

Contrary to conventional wisdom (and my own wishes on the matter) I think America would support a new initiative in Iraq... but only if they were convinced that it would lead to victory. Unfortunately for Bush, he has no credibility so it’s not going to happen.
Discussing a post-war reconstruction using a war-victory/defeat narrative doesn’t help.
 
Written By: err
URL: http://

 
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