Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Not quite the Wordsworth-cliché moment

We all recall the gutsy glow of May Day 1997:
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.
Inevitably, the balloons lost their plumpness, and we were back to porridge and old clothes. But things had changed, materially and spiritually for the better. As we rationalised the reality and frustration (and, yes, disappointments) of Labour in power, we came to accept the conclusion to which Wordsworth was building. We are:
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,―the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!
Today's November light is greyer than May, eight years back. Nor is the mood in New York, Washington and San Francisco quite so charged. Little immediately will change. The Iraq mess festers on, waiting for the James Baker Commission to find a shovel and Lysol, and come up with Fifty Ways to Leave Your Cover. The New Congress does not convene for another ten weeks, and the White House remains in denial. This morning's briefing by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow (no CJ Cregg, he) does not seem, as some commentators imply, any kind of meeting of minds:
the problems we faced this morning are the same problems we'll face tomorrowwinning the war in Iraq, keeping the economy together, working on renewing No Child Left Behind.
Hmm: only yesterday (in the Republican National Committee view, at least) the economy was sound; and there's still that blind parroting insistence on "winning the war". The undeniable truth, though, is the next Congress must sort out the "war", square the budget, and start addressing the mess of health, education and welfare. No way can the US go through two years of deadlock and drift.

But let's look on the positive side.

Chris Cook's prediction seems to have hit close to the bull's eye:
we see a 20-35 seat gain for Democrats in the House, a four to six seat gain for Democrats in the Senate and a six to eight seat gain for Democrats in the governor's races.
Provided Montana and Virginia oblige, yesterday's Republican hegemony is totally shattered. Malcolm's feels particularly warm about:
  1. Bill Nelson creaming Katherine Harris 60-38 in the Florida Senate campaign.
  2. Bob Casey ending Rick Santorum's 12-year Senate tenure for Pennsylvania.
  3. The sheer size of Hillary's majority (up from 54-43 to 67-31) in New York.
  4. The narrow but telling 4,500-vote majority for Tim Mahoney over the ghost of Mark Foley in the gerrymandered Florida 16th (where Bush took 55% in 2004).
  5. The Texas 22nd (Tom Delay's fortress by 55-41 last time) going Democrat 52-42.
  6. Deval Patrick making history by becoming Massachusetts Governor (by 56-35). As the Boston Globe put it: "That thud last night was the sound of the Republican Party hitting bottom in Massachusetts".
  7. Environmentalism on the up in California. The San Francisco Chronicle took an AP story for its shock-horror as "Little-known Democrat Jerry McNerney on Tuesday beat GOP Rep. Richard Pombo, the powerful chairman of the House Resources Committee". Pombo, it should be remembered, had been in the pocket of the polluting-industrial lobby. Meanwhile, the voters seem to accept bond-raising for reconstructing schhols, and for the environment-friendly Proposition 84.
  8. South Dakota going 44-56 against a total ban on abortion, which would have provided a re-run of Roe v. Wade.
On the other hand, Tammy Duckworth looks to have lost 51-49 in the Illinois 6th. The greatest disappointment, though, is Harold Ford's 51-48 defeat in Tennessee. Sphere: Related Content

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