Well, my predictions were way off.. At this point, the Democrats have picked up 27 house seats (giving them a 12-seat advantage over the GOP) with 14 seats still undetermined, of which several are bound to add to the Democrat’s win column. Over in the Senate, the unthinkable happened with the Democrats almost clearing the table by winning Missouri, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Montana and Virginia are still too close to call, but the Democrats are leading in both and it is unlikely that either will shift. This brings the Senate into the precarious position of having 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats, giving the Dems 51-49 control of the Senate. So in all likelihood, barring some major shift in Montana or Virginia, we will be seeing both Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi.
The Drive-by Media will try to tell us that this is a sweeping mandate for the Democrats and against the war. They will tell us that the Reagan Revolution / GOP revolution is dead, that Conservatism has failed, and that the Democrats are “back in power.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Conservatism did not lose last night, the GOP did.
The GOP over the past eight years (really since the resignation of Speaker Gingrich) has become complaisant and addicted to power. They have spent like there is no tomorrow, they have pushed for amnesty for illegal immigrants, corruption is rampant, and conservative principles get deadlocked in the walls of congress. The Democrats won yesterday due to an unpopular war and unpopular president, but they also won because they fielded many Blue-Dog Conservatve or Moderate-Conservative candidates. We may end up seeing another situation as in the 1980s, when the Blue-Dog Democrats joined with Reagan on many issues, defying Tip O’Neill and the hard left. America is still Conservative; exit polls and other data confirm this. This was more a vote against the GOP and their complacency with power, and a struggling war than for the Democrat agenda.
Ever the optimist, I like to look at the silver lining in everything. One of the tenants of Christianity is that God can bring good out of evil. I believe that this election presents the Conservative movement with an opportunity to get back to its roots and come back stronger in the end. The country is still conservative. The GOP needs to convince the country that it is still conservative.
In the next section I’m going to look at some Silver Linings and Damn Shames of this election.
Silver Lining Section
- RINOs: Two RINOs lost their elections, Mike DeWine and Lincoln Chaffee, proving that bowing to the New York Times and the liberal establishment can’t save you as long as you have an (R) next to your name. The key is to be unabashedly conservative, and live or die on those principles. Their being forced from the Senate this year will make things easier to push Conservatism the next time the GOP takes control of the Legislative Branch.
- Divided Government: Bush is more likely to veto spending measures, and the Democrats are less likely to get things passed. Bush can effectively battle on the budget the next two years since he doesn’t have to worry about earmarks for his party.
- Leadership Shake-up: There will be a leadership shake-up in the house. Mike Pence and John Shaddeg, prominent members of the House Study Committee (a conservative caucus in the House) are planning on challenging for the GOP leadership, and one or both of them will likely succeed. This shake-up could be just what the Republicans need to do to get back on message.
- Pelosi and Reid: They are now the face of the Democratic party, at least until a nominee is chosen for President in early 2008. This is a wonderful opportunity for the GOP to highlight liberalism at its worst.
- She-who-must-not-be-named: This could make her ascendancy to the Presidency more difficult. Two years of Democrats may give a potential GOP candidate something to run on, and the she will have to defend the record of the Senate.
- Santorum and Allen: Two Conservative stalwarts. Santorum a great leader in the House, Allen a potential Presidential nominee, both with careers now ended.
- John McCain: He was on Fox News last night speaking at how the Republicans need another leader like Reagan to lead them to Victory. Trouble is, McCain fancies himself as another Reagan but is nothing like another Reagan. This unfortunately solidifies his position as GOP front-runner.
- Investigations / Impeachment: The Dems will begin a long series of drawn-out investigations that could help cripple the Bush Presidency in its remaining two years. The Lieberman factor could play into this however, as he is for the war and could hold a very powerful position in the new Senate.
Overall, we need to look at yesterday’s defeat as an opportunity, not a tragedy. It is an opportunity to cleanse the GOP and bring it back to its Conservative roots. We may have lost the battle last night, but the war is far from over. We as Conservatives need to spend the next two years making sure that we stick to our principles, fight liberalism at every turn, hold ground, and get ready for 2008.
All is not lost. Remember 1992. Everyone thought Conservatism was dead. Clinton was in power, the Democrats had both houses of Congress, an incumbent with former 90% approval ratings had been ousted from the White House. Then Newt came out with his Contract with America, fought a hard campaign, and changed politics forever. The effects of the last 12 years remains even today. It will not be as easy for the Democrats to maintain their majority as it was before 1994. We can and must win back the seats of Government, but on the same Conservative principles that propelled Ronald Reagan to two highly successful victories, and propelled the GOP to take the congress in 1994. This is an opportunity for us to cleanse the party, expose the Democrats as who they really are, and effect real change on this country. We have a long way to go, but we can and must prevail.