Republicans Lose the Super Bowl of ElectionsThe day after the Super Bowl fans remember the winning team as being the “victors” and the losing team as “losers.” It doesn’t matter what the score was, or who was ahead most of the game. It is not important if the winning points were scored in the last second or the last twenty minutes. It is of no concern if the last score came on a 100-yard returned punt, or a two-inch quarterback sneak. The winning team are the champions, and the losing team are failures.
So, too, in elections. The victors this election are the Democrats, and the losers the Republicans. The “game” seemed like it was won in the last days before the election. It was won on a steady “ground attack” from about the 45-yardline of the Republicans, and it was an unstoppable march, but one that caught everyone by surprise with its scope and finality. The Democrats “scored” by taking the House, but then also “went for two” and got them, by taking the Senate also. They won by “2 points.” Not a big margin, but enough to earn the label of “champions,” and enough to gain control of the government—which is as good as a landslide.
Narrow Margin, Big SignificanceWas it a “thumpin’.” No in terms of votes cast, but yes in terms of significance. Just as in the 1996 and 2000 presidential races, people remember George W. Bush as the winner, and Al Gore and John Kerry as the losers, even though Gore got more votes than Bush, and Kerry came close. Close doesn’t count. Close doesn’t matter in this race either.
On Tuesday, the Democrats took control of the House and Senate. They won 29+ House seats, a bit below the expected six-year norm in a two-term presidency. They gained the Senate with a one-vote majority in a race capped by victories of 8,900 votes in Virginia and 2,500 in Montana. A switch of just 1,500 votes in Montana would have kept the Senate Republican.
Though the margin of victory was not large, the scope of it and its consistency across the nation does point to a vote of “no confidence” in this government, and on its core issue, the war in Iraq. In this sense, then, it really was a “thumpin’.” This is why Bush fired Rumsfeld the day after the vote. He got the message.
The question is, then, was this also a “thumpin’” for conservatism?
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