Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'm in shock

I feel like I'm an example of many Democrats. I have spent part of today waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for Osama to endorse Sherrod Brown, waiting for some magical horrible twist of the knife. But it's not there. Things just keep getting better. The Secretary of Defense who has so horribly managed this war, and whose myriad failures have cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, to say nothing of our status among the ethical nations of the world, he is retiring. Conrad Burns, he of the secret plan to win the war, is done. And from what I have read, after the canvass is completed the race will be certified--meaning we're likely to win in Virginia as well. So we'll have just won the House and the Senate and seen the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. To say nothing of the many Governorships and State Houses we retook. It's a pretty amazing day. We have a chance to start changing things. A chance to really make concrete improvements in people's lives. I'm thrilled that the first piece of legislation is going to be the minimum wage. That's perfect. It's common sense, it helps those with lower incomes and will start the ball rolling. Great choice.

One final thought. I know that Rahm Emanuel is going to claim credit for all of this, or at least try to, but Howard Dean's 50 state strategy deserves a ton of credit. Dean decided, as with his presidential bid, that voters in all states were worth fighting for. This energy, this approach meant that we were poised to make gains in states where we're rarely dominant. I cannot help but think that gains in Indiana are related to a belief that it's worth it to fight everywhere. But no region better exemplifies this than the West. Idaho, Wyoming and Montana had close races at all levels. That the Republicans had to pour money into Wyoming and Idaho means that money couldn't be used to turn the tide against Tester or Allen, or against numerous House winners. Howard Dean's belief in fighting everywhere meant that when the wave hit we had people ready to ride it everywhere. His approach meant that Republicans could not take for granted previously safe seats, and while they have a lot of money, it's not infinite. Forcing the GOP to make choices with its resources meant we were able to protect our leads in key states and key races. He was right in '03. He was right in '04. He was right in '05. And boy is he ever right today.

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