What Next?Right now I am burned out, tired, angry, depressed, slightly bewildered, confused, frustrated and alienated. I think that I'll be taking a day or two off from blogging in order to collect my head and start thinking clearly again, but before that, I want to start thinking about the second Bush administration and the 2006 and 2008 elections.
1) Bush has a much more legitimate victory this time around than 2000, and people evidently approve of his push to the hard right on taxes, on moral issues, on gay bashing, on Iraq, on torture. He has stronger Congressional majorities to work with, not filibuster proof, but he does not need to worry about Lincoln Chafee go off the reservation.
2) The recent news of Rehnquist most likely having terminal thyroid cancer is just the beginning, as Bush will most likely make at least two if not three Supreme Court appointments over the next four years. He will be able to get pretty much whomever he wants through the Senate short of someone where we have video tape of him eating babies for brunch (now breakfast is acceptable, but you don't eat babies after 10:00AM.)
3) The dollar will continue to fall, as Bush will be able to lock in his sunsetting tax cuts without any pressure of any sort to hold the line on spending. Japan is running out of ability to sterilize more US dollar purchases, while China is the wild card... a low reminibi is an effective export/job subsidy that encourages domestic peace. Will OPEC continue a slow move to a bi-currency denomination standard?
4) The Democrats need to rapidly build their communication and message dissemination infrastructure as well as their ground game for 2008. It seems that it worked well in Pennsylvania, but in any truly swing state, it failed to carry the ticket over the top. It will soon be the conventional wisdom that any late shift/surge will go to the Republicans for the next couple of cycles; see 2002, 2004. We need an effective counter to the 96 hour church based mobilization system that Rove developed. I don't know what it is, besides not counting on college students to get off their lazy ass.
5) The one advantage of the fiasco in the Senate (lose 6 seats, pickup 2,) is that the Democratic caucus is unified by threat of hanging tomorrow. The disadvantage is that the road uphill is now even more difficult than it was last week. But with the Democratic wipe-out in the South, 2006 moves back to more friendly territory. Also, with Daschle losing, the Democratic leadership should be drawn from safer seats.
6) The DCCC seems to be the only committee that made expectations... it looks like the only net loss of seats experienced in the House was from the Texas redistricting. That map is getting tossed out for 2006.
7) Who are the frontrunners for 2008? Automatically for the Dems Easley, Gov. of North Carolina, Southern drawl and Democrat will be his campaign slogan. Who else? Clinton? What other Southern Democrats who can neutralize the "morals" issue? How about the Republicans? Bill Weld, Rudi Guiliani will both be batted around, but I don't think that either will win becuase the Texas wing of the party has seen it can win without the northeast twice in a row. Jeb Bush?