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.
OK, ONE MORE TIME ON THIS ONE. There is clearly a developing narrative -- let�s call it the Casey-Webb-Shuler narrative -- which suggests that Democratic victories this year are somehow the result of Democrats �running as conservatives.� Republicans, and conservative Republicans in particular, have an obvious stake in perpetuating such a narrative. But it is patently untrue.
LEACH. I was all set to do a post ruminating on super-moderate Republican Jim Leach's defeat, but now I see Matt's already pretty much got it covered. Basically, among political observers you've got a fundamental division: there are those who lament the defeat of the moderate element of the GOP that Leach so perfectly embodied, and there are those who welcome it.
THE SENATE OF THE FUTURE. If the Democrats fall short of control of the Senate tonight or after a Virginia recount, or even if they hold only a one seat margin, begin to familarize yourself with the list at this link.