BACK TO THE CLOWN SHOW. The defeat of South Dakota's abortion ban is evidently good news on the merits, and will also hopefully put to rest the ideas that abortion criminalization necessarily represents popular majorities. Even in one of the most conservative states in the country, an even minimally consistent (and the South Dakota legislation still flinched when it came to applying legal sanctions to women who were purportedly guilty of a serious crime) pro-life position is a political loser.
WHAT COUNTERMOBILIZATION? Remember all the speculation about how the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision requiring civil unions was going to create a major, pro-Republican backlash because the courts were "getting ahead of the people"? Strange how we're hearing less about that today, now that this seems to have had about as much impact on the election as the botched Kerry joke that obsessed the conservative blogosphere but apparently not the electorate.
GO AHEAD, CALL THEM CONSERVATIVE DEMS. WHY SHOULD WE CARE?Unlike Tom Schaller, I have to admit, I wasn�t bothered at all by the spin that the Democrats won because they embraced a lot of candidates with conservative views and backgrounds. Now Tom�s a political scientist, so he has to be concerned with empirical truth and all that stuff (didn�t Karl Rove get rid of that?), and as a matter of truth, he and the legendary political researcher Dennis Yedwab are of course right: the bulk of the Democratic majority came from Northeast, Midwest and Mountain seats where the winners were not conservative.
STATE LEGISLATURES. Of all the stories that got ignored last night as Chris Matthews worked through his many public man-crushes, and as CNN kept warning us about the evil, lurking genius of Karl Rove, and the folks at Fox just kind of wandered around the set like stunned cattle, this one right here, as well as the Democratic sweep among the nation's governors, strikes me as the most important of them in the long term. It gives the Democrats a longer bench, as my coach buddies always say.
THE DAY AFTER. It's nice to finally write one of these election wrap-ups that doesn't have to account for a massive Democratic disappointment. Change is good, right? What it does have to do is punch back against the remarkably coordinated and quick campaign from the right (and sometimes the right includes the left) seeking to paint this election as some sort of victory for ... conservatism.
WOMEN RULE. While the historical precedent of the first female speaker of the House grabs the headlines, the Dems' newfound grrrl power doesn't end there; as reported in Women's e-News (WeN), four women are poised to lead committees, even the powerful House intelligence committee, on which California's Rep. Jane Harman currently serves as ranking member.
HOW 'BOUT THAT HOWARD DEAN? As much as I've seen Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, all over the airwaves in the last 24 hours, I've yet to hear him sing the praises of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, whose 50-state strategy appears quite vindicated this morning. You'll recall that there's been a blood feud between the two men. Now I'm waiting to watch Emanuel do that goofy dance (did anybody watch him after Pelosi's victory speech?) with Dr. Dean -- and maybe give the DNC boss a big bear hug.