THE GOOD OLD DAYS. Over at WJM...er, MSNBC, I think Ted and Chuckles just went off the rails. Chris Matthews had old Enron Ed Gillespie on, glumly chatting over the demise of a whole passel of GOP "workhorses." (Aside -- There has been nothing more fun tonight than seeing Republican strategists do live shots while the banquet room gets packed up behind them. They were stacking chairs over Enron Ed's left shoulder.) And Matthews started talking about the halcyon days of divided government and bipartisan comity ... in the mid-1990's!
Wait. Wasn't there something peculiarly and distinctly partisan about those years? Oh, yes. THEY IMPEACHED THE PRESIDENT, FOOF!
EXIT STRATEGY: WRATH OF THE MATH.David Gergen just speculated on CNN that Donald Rumsfeld will "fall on his sword," meaning he'll submit his twice-rejected resignation. Bush, of course, has pledged that Rumsfeld is his man. The only situation I can see whereby Rumsfeld is out at the Pentagon is if Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb win, giving the Senate to a 51-seat Democratic majority. At that point -- faced with a Democratic congress, endless investigations, subpeonas, document requests, the whole megilla -- it makes sense for Bush to reluctantly accept Rumsfeld's resignation and appoint Joe Lieberman as defense secretary.
MSNBC. Got to disagree with Ez. I thought MSNBC was the best -- quicker with the calls, sharper with the analysis, and Matthews and Olbermann has to be the strangest TV news team since Ted Baxter and Chuckles The Clown got snowbound together on election night at WJM. CNN was the night of the living dead. Bill Bennett? The politician once known as J.C. Watts? To say nothing of John King and Candy Crowley, who talked all night as though they were waiting for Brent Bozell to leap out of the wings and bite them.
New York Times economic columnist David Leonhardt seems to do a Jekyl and Hyde routine, alternating insightful analysis with painful renditions of the conventional wisdom. Mr. Hyde is out in all his glory today.
EXHIBIT A. Before the "Democrats Only Won Because They Ran A Bunch Of Republicans" meme gets set in stone, people should realize that the result in Tennessee pretty much obliterates a good piece of that theory. Harold Ford makes Bob Casey look like Emma Goldman, and he got handled pretty well by the nebbishy Bob Corker. (And the voters down there should be ashamed that the odious TV ad worked as well as it did.) Ford talked about Jesus, guns, and his own heterosexuality, and he lost to a guy so nondescript that he has no shadow.
"THE VOTES ARE IN AND WE WON." Spencer is happily prescient. Conservative Democrat or not, it's nice to have a Democrat in a crucial race who understands politics. In a recount, you have to seize the initiative and establish the right narrative: Webb did it. Good for him.
A QUESTION FOR BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE TOMORROW. "Mr. President, you said last week that 'However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses.' Did the American people just vote for the terrorists last night?"
THE BIG ISSUES. CNN's election coverage has been really superb. Smart, fair, informative analysis that managed to keep the focus on actual results without tumbling into constant political speculation or prophesizing. And the War Room style worked well, with Wolf Blitzer and Company wandering around a massive set rather than sitting at a table. Visually, that worked far, far better than the traditional seated set-ups of the other networks. It also allowed the anchors to take up less visual room, and give more to the giant screen and its sweet, sweet election results.
WEBB NEEDS TO DECLARE VICTORY.Jim Webb needs to take a page out of Bush's 2000 playbook and declare victory now. I was in Austin on election night 2000, and the second that Bush confidently told supporters he won, the momentum changed entirely. Bill Daley was left pleading that the race was an open contest, and for the next excruciating 36 days, Al Gore was painted as -- you all remember Sore Loserman. Webb is a Marine through and through. He has to know the value of seizing the high ground, whether or not he actually occupies it. Please, Senator Webb: speak to your supporters, and thank them for providing you your victory.