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  • WHAT COUNTERMOBILIZATION? ...

    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. At any rate, this should be yet another reminder that arguments about litigation inherently generating greater levels of opposition than other forms of policy change are generally characterized by a surfeit of assertion and a paucity of evidence . --Scott Lemieux
  • GO AHEAD, CALL THEM CONSERVATIVE DEMS. WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

    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. So the spin that the Democrats won because they moved in a more conservative direction is inaccurate. But so what? Consider the alternative spin, which is that Democrats are a bunch of extreme liberals, who will be as far out of touch as the Republicans and who will be destroyed in 2008? I�d rather have a party that�s fairly liberal but has a reputation or image as moderate than one that�s...
  • STATE LEGISLATURES. Of...

    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. If the national party intends to solidify its gains last night, it's out of these state legislatures whence will come most of those candidates. And the sweep in Iowa probably changes the 2008 presidential dynamic in a couple of dozen ways that nobody's figured out et, but I feel safe in predicting that most of these newly minted state reps have a new best friend in John Edwards . --Charles P. Pierce
  • CRACK REPORTING. K-Lo...

    CRACK REPORTING. K-Lo quotes a congressional Deep Throat on the upcoming race for minority leader: One top house source tells me: �[ Pence ] believes the GOP must recommit to the principles and vision of Ronald Reagan in order to successfully take back the majority.� Whew. Lucky her source didn't say that on the record! In any case, brace yourself for some Reagan nostalgia. The right will spin this one as a rejection of liberalism, pork, and spending. That the last major Republican loss -- 1998's repudiation of the Gingrich revolution -- was a rejection of Gingrich's rejection of liberalism, pork, and spending won't, I predict, much matter. In any case, progressives would do well with a Pence-led majority, as the cruel austerity of his philosophy is the sort of thing Republicans have traditionally worked assiduously to conceal. Putting it on public display just as we enter a recession will be...interesting. --Ezra Klein
  • FIRST WOMEN. As...

    FIRST WOMEN. As an addendum to Addie 's post , the first woman was elected as chief justice of the Supreme Court in Alabama . --Kay Steiger
  • THE DAY AFTER....

    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. The ideological spectrum is a tricky thing. Take Heath Schuler , exhibit A in the rightwing Democrats meme. He's a cultural conservative, no doubt. But however far right he drifts on those issues -- which, under a Democratic Congress, he won't be voting on because they won't be brought to floor -- he's notably left on economic issues. Today, for instance, he's giving a press conference under the auspices of the United Steelworkers with Great Liberal Hope Sherrod Brown , where they'll discuss the need for new trade policies and their success in making active opposition to NAFTA a winning issue...
  • WOMEN RULE. ...

    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. (WeN does note, however, that Harman's ascension is in doubt because of "her reportedly sour relationship with Pelosi ," and for a while now people have been anticipating Pelosi replacing her with Alcee Hastings .) Other likely female committee chairmen include Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), in line to lead the Rules Committee, Juanita Millender-McDonald (Calif.) of the House Administration Committee, and Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.) of the Small Business Committee. --Adele M. Stan
  • HOW 'BOUT THAT...

    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. --Adele M. Stan
  • OK, ONE MORE TIME ON THIS ONE.

    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. Pull back the lens and what appears to be happening this year is a regional-ideological partisan correction in which Rockefeller-Ford Republicans are purged from the NE/NW Rust Belt, and prairie progressives pick off selected seats in the Far West. The regional realignment over the past 40 years, which slowly converted Dixiecrats into Republicans, has now entered its final stage, as voters north of the Mason-Dixon line and west of the Mississippi provide a countervailing response to the southern-led Republican majority. This transformation is occurring at the Senate, House, and gubernatorial levels. Indeed,...
  • LEACH.

    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. Certainly I'm one of the latter -- someone who thinks ideological coherency among the parties and political polarization, though certainly not without their costs, are things to welcome in the American scene rather than mourn. With that, I think I'll stop blogging (and drinking) and get a bit of sleep. Much more tomorrow/today on TAP Online , of course. UPDATE: Even given all that, it should be said that arch GOP moderate Chris Shays has secured re-election in Connecticut. --Sam Rosenfeld

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