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GOP did little to head off election thumpin' page 2
GOP did little to head off Election Day disaster.

 If Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld had left sooner, would the results have been different on Election Day?
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Date published: 11/19/2006

By Richard Amrhine


Having the Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress has already forced the president into action. Rumsfeld's departure is only the beginning. Plenty of other officials will exit between now and 2008.

That's when it all happens again--with the entire House, another third of the Senate, and the presidency to boot, all up for grabs. Between now and then, perhaps Republicans will do what they should have done prior to this election, and that is: listen to what Americans are saying, and react accordingly.

I'm not lamenting the GOP's losses. Far from it. I think having the Democrats wrest control of Congress from the GOP is a good thing, not just ideologically, but for the nation as a whole.

The Christian right will find that having the president's ear doesn't bring the leverage it used to, and government will get out of the homophobia cheerleading business.

Corporate America will discover that it no longer benefits from every White House decision.

The poor and infirm among us will find that America is once again the land of compassion and promise.

So how will President Bush change as a result of all of this? He may still suffer from the body language, and spoken language, of a man without a clue, because that's the way he is. But now that his party no longer controls the legislative branch, he'll be less beholden to congressional pressures.

Perhaps his real sense of right and wrong, his true philosophy, will emerge. Will he moderate, or further polarize?

While the Republicans are busy interpreting the message they received from the American electorate, and planning a new course of action, certainly the Democrats must do the same thing.

American voters did what they have done throughout history, and that is to rein in a government that has strayed too far--one way or the other. When the time comes, the out-of-power party need only promise change to achieve victory.

The Democrats didn't define the changes they were promising because they didn't need to. But two years from now, the Democratic message will need to be clear, and resonate with the voters, if they expect the trend to continue.

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