I guess we all should have known after last time that early exit polls are to be taken with an exceedingly large grain of salt. Despite what I said yesterday, I had a hard time containing my optimism. Unfortunately, Kerry wasn't able to pull out a win for the Democrats, and by winning 51% of the nationwide popular vote, Bush will be able to claim a mandate for just about anything he wants to do. With the gains the GOP made in the House and Senate, it will be even easier for them to push their legislative agenda. Still, I found a few hopeful signs in Robert Kaiser's chat this morning on the Washington Post web site. While the Democrats are essentially leaderless at this point (Hillary freakin' Clinton is the early front-runner for 2008!) and need to determine how to win elections in an increasingly Republican nation, the GOP doesn't have an heir apparent either. Even Jeb Bush will need the help of a successful 2nd term for his brother. And while I'm wondering if the Democrats have any relevance in American society anymore, Kaiser points out that in 1964, Republicans were doing similar soul-searching in the wake of a landslide Johnson victory over Goldwater and Democratic gains in Congress and governorships. Four years later Nixon took the White House. It's not much, but it's a start.
I keep reminding myself that twenty years ago I thought that Reagan's reelection meant the end of liberal policies everywhere and a nuclear war with the USSR. I was wrong about a war, and in 1986 the Democrats took back control of the Senate. Many, many things are possible between now and the next election. I'm not happy about these results, but I'm not moving to Canada either. I still have a wonderful wife and family, three cats who don't give a damn who runs the country as long as they have food in their bowls, a great job and a good life in the big city. I don't see any of that changing as a direct result of Bush's win.