Well, another election as come and gone.
It didn't turn out as well as the Republicans had hoped. From what I understand, most of the races that were considered toss-ups ended up being blow-outs. Republicans will have to live with being the minority party again, for God only knows how long.
How did it end up like this? As a lot of people are saying, the Republicans earned this. Yes, the Democrats played dirty in some ways, but the Republicans gave them the tools with which to do it. For example, Mark Foley wouldn't have been as big of a deal if the leadership had looked into that whole affair long ago.
Also, the war of ideas was really not in play in this election, at least not as in times past. This time around, the main Democratic argument was "Hey, we're not the Republicans and we hate George Bush." The Republican counter-argument wasn't any better: "Hey, if you think we're bad, just wait until the Democrats are in power." It doesn't surprise me that voters weren't convinced.
I've read some people saying that Democrats may have won, but so did conservative values. Apparently, much of the caucus that the Democrats built this time around was with conservative candidates (pro-life, low taxes, so on and so forth). Also, some conservative ballot initiatives passed, such as an anti-Affirmative Action bill in Michigan, as well as gay marriage initiatives in other states.
I can't say much about that. In MO, the constitutional amendment for therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research passed (though the cigarette tax failed), so I can't quite say what to make of it. Conservative Democrats will have a rough time in their caucus if history is any indicator. This election seems to have been dominated by a Republican vs. Democrat dynamic, with Iraq possibly being the only big issue in play. Perhaps in future election cycles, a move away from such party-based electioneering and back towards issue-oriented voting might take place. I don't think I'll hold my breath on that one, but the exit of President Bush from the political stage may play a role in that.
Despite the greater fears of some people, I don't think the sky is going to collapse. Democrats hold majorities, but it's especially slim in the Senate, 51-49. If any Democrats in the House attempt impeachment proceedings (which people are already calling them to do), I think they'll have an uphill battle with it, and I doubt it would succeed. Also, despite Democratic plans calling for a slide into socialism, I doubt they'll get anything too worrisome passed in the next few years.
My biggest worries fall into immigration and national security. I was never on the same page as President Bush on immigration, and unfortunately his plans for a "temporary worker" program and normalization for current illegals falls more in line with the party that was just put into power. I'm probably not goign to like what comes next.
As for national security, I see Democrats quickly calling for withdrawals from Iraq. I'm not sure they'd be so bold as to completely defund the mission, but it could happen. If we retreat as they want, I think that will do more to encourage Islamic terrorism at home and abroad than our continued presence ever would have. We'll see what happens.
As for Illinois, well, the voters will get what they deserved. More people voted to remove Rod from office than to keep him, but he still received the most votes. I guess there might be a chance of him being voted out if people actually get sick enough of him. We'll see what the next four years brings.
One last note: In the run-up to the election, I read a lot of frantic screeds declaring that Republicans would steal the elections, thanks to voter intimidation and Diebold vote stealing (not that they ever noticed dead voters or ACORN voter fraud). I'd like to know . . . what happened to all of that?