As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Georgie Peorgie (and Karl Peorgie)

I guess Democratic control of the Senate is now official, and I guess George Allen is going to concede defeat in a few hours.

Pretty amazing that we managed to run the table (except for Tennessee) and get all of the seats we needed for the majority. And as Matthew Yglesias says, the Kult of Karl Rove can now be put to bed.

From the GOP perspective, while losing five senate seats is worse than losing four, losing six is much worse than losing five. Since the 2006 climate clearly wasn't favorable to the Republicans, the obvious thing to do would have been to concentrate resources on Republican incumbents running in red states -- Virginia, Montana, Missouri, and Tennessee. I feel like there's good reason to think the GOP could have won two out of those four had they focused. Instead, they tried an ambitious strategy of picking off Democratic seats in New Jersey and Maryland, two solidly blue states.

Interestingly, Rove made the exact same error in 2000, engaging in an absurd late-game effort to campaign in California. He then lost the election, only to wind up with Bush securing the White House through a series of incredibly unlikely events plus a partisan Supreme Court. Then in 2004, he did something similar with weird last minute gambits in Hawaii and New Jersey that put his candidates perilously close to losing Ohio (and with it the presidency) not withstanding a decent-sized popular majority. Learning nothing from his good fortune except an unhealthy sense of infallibility, he proceeded to do it again and then, finally, have things genuinely blow up in his face.

This election punctured a lot of myths on both sides: that gerrymandering was invincible, that the GOP 72-hour strategy was impossible to beat, that elections are ALWAYS stolen, and on and on. But no myth was bigger that Rove, and actually all of the other myths worked in concert with that one. Nobody has a monopoly on the electorate, and this election was actually more about ideas than in recent years, which is why the Democrats won.

Let me finally offer hearty congratulations to Jim Webb and Jon Tester. I supported both of these guys, the last two to cross the finish line, since the very beginning of their candidacies. They were among the first candidates to whom I gave money this year. They both faced primaries against favored, middle-of-the-road DLC candidates, and beat them. They both faced incumbent Senators in states that went for Bush twice, and beat them. They did so because they talked to regular people about their sincere ideas for changing the country. And people responded. It's good for America to have two men like this in the US Senate.