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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Surviving to fight another day

This is an interesting perspective from Time, though I read it at my favorite blog, Hullabaloo:

Election night was miserable for the Republicans: they lost the presidency, at least five seats in the Senate, and around 20 seats in the House. They are officially out of power. But considering how bad the damage might have been, the GOP actually had the best night they could realistically hope for under the circumstances.

Looking back at our races to watch, just about all the conservative Republicans in traditionally red territory held seats needed by the GOP to avoid a blowout: Senators Roger Wicker in Mississippi, Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and, probably, Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, along with House members John Shadegg in Arizona, Cynthia Lummis in Wyoming and the Diaz-Balart brothers in Florida. It looks like graft-convicted Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska will somehow retain his seat long enough to get expelled, and his ethically and temperamentally challenged porkmate, Don Young, was reelected as well; Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota survived her McCarthyite rant on Hardball, and Ohio's similarly obnoxious Jean Schmidt once again avoided a well-deserved early retirement. Republicans even ousted four first-term Democrats before they could get entrenched in deep-red districts — not only the clearly doomed Casanova Tim Mahoney of Florida, but Nancy Boyda of Kansas, Dan Cazayoux of Louisiana and Nick Lampson of Texas.

Democrats did knock off a few fire-breathing right-wing targets: wacky Bill Sali of Idaho, who protested a minimum-wage hike by introducing a bill to repeal the law of gravity; Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, who once declared gay marriage the greatest threat to America; Tom Feeney of Florida, an escapee from the Abramoff scandal; and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, who ran ads calling her Christian opponent "godless." They also defeated some impressive Republicans who could have helped lead the party out of the wilderness, like moderate Congressman Christopher Shays of Connecticut, conservative Senator John Sununu of New Hampshire, and pragmatic Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who had hoped to swim upstream into the governor's office.

Still, it could have been worse. After eight ugly years of AIG, WMDs, Abu Ghraib, Enron, Blackwater, freedom fries, yellowcake, record deficits, Fannie and Freddie and Brownie, Mark Foley and Duke Cunningham and Tom DeLay, the Republican Party should qualify for a bailout. Retiring GOP Congressman Tom Davis memorably declared that if Republicans were a dog food, they'd be pulled off the shelves — and their usually well-funded candidates were badly outspent this cycle. But they've survived to fight for more kibbles in the future.



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