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 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. 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

    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 . These are the Senators of Class II, those whose seats will be up in 2008. There are 12 Democrats, and 21 Republicans. Of the Dems, the only likely retirees would be Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey (the GOP just took its last best shot at a NJ Senate seat), perhaps John Kerry , and perhaps Biden if he gives up his seat to run for president, which if he asked me, I would advise against. The only vulnerable Dem in the class is Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Of the 21 Republicans, on the other hand, there are a few likely retirements: John Warner , Pete Domenici , and Ted Stevens , from Virginia, New Mexico, and Alaska respectively. The first two states are trending seriously Democratic, the third always has possibilities. (Plus, Mark Warner might run for the John Warner seat,...

    STILL THE ONE. Pierce referred to him obliquely -- but the Orleans soft-rocker who upset Sue Kelly in New York's 19th District is John Hall . Readers: meet John Hall . --Sam Rosenfeld

    SHOW ME STATE. CNN just projected Claire McCaskill as the Senate victor in my home state, Missouri. What a night. --Sam Rosenfeld

    THE GOOD OLD DAYS. Over at, 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! And a note to my friend Keith O -- Orleans really sucked. Always did. Glad the singer won, though. --Charles P. Pierce

    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. Bush will yield huge plaudits from ignorant pundits and deliver the Senate, once Republican Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell appoints a GOPer to Lieberman's seat, back to the Republicans, thanks to Vice's tie-breaker vote. Meanwhile, an unwinnable war will grind on. --Spencer Ackerman