November 18, 2004


GOP's bolder reign on Hill: Republicans act quickly, showing a postelection confidence, while Democrats struggle to regroup. (Gail Russell Chaddock, 11/19/04, CS Monitor)

Fresh from a victory that stunned even their optimistic partisans, Republicans brushed critics aside with a vote that would have been hard to imagine before the Nov. 2 elections: changing their House rules to allow leaders to stay in their post even if criminally indicted.

Democrats, for their part, showed that they are also in a new postelection place. This week, they quietly elected new leadership while bracing for fights with the GOP on everything from big staff reductions to a rule change that would limit their power to block judicial nominations.

After four years of near parity on Capitol Hill, both parties show signs of settling into the mind-set of majority or minority roles - and the dangers each includes.

The risks are most obvious for Democrats. Their challenge is to avoid getting used to being the party out of power - and keeping talented people interested enough to stay in the game. Some now talk openly of a long-term decline.


Posted by Orrin Judd at November 18, 2004 6:43 PM

If we had won Arkansas, I'd have been stunned.

Posted by: Timothy at November 18, 2004 7:18 PM

"...keeping talented people interested enough to stay in the game..."

Yup. This is where the entrenchment of the incumbents is going to hurt them really bad. There are a lot of Democrat Senators who have been there for decades and accumulated lots of power. But they can easily see that their party won't be back in power for a minimum of 2 or 3 election cycles.

A long time to be getting the sh** end of the stick after you've enjoyed the sweet end for as long as you can remember. Not much fun being demoted from power-player CEO down to toilet scrubber. So these guys will begin leaving -- and taking their power with them.

It's a downward spiral, and will make it harder and harder for the Dems to attract smart/good candidates. No fun being the top dog of the offices next to the furnace in the basement.

Posted by: ray at November 19, 2004 12:29 AM

What is the age distribution in the Senate? Which ones will cross their 75th birthday before 2008? or 2010?

Posted by: Gideon at November 19, 2004 4:09 AM

Robert Byrd may be 89 at his next election run but the only way he'll die is if someone drives a stake through his heart or shoots him with a silver bullet.

The GOP must listen to Tom DeLay and not to the MSM. They must not grant any quarter, any respite, any 'comity' to the Democrats. They must treat the Dems as badly as they were treated. That is the way the game is played. In doing so, they can maintain their hegemony for decades.

Posted by: Bart at November 19, 2004 6:17 AM

DeLay should have taken one for the team, rather than giving the Democratic Party stereotype fueling talking points.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at November 19, 2004 9:40 AM


My first reaction also, but then I thought: only if the Democrats had the same rules, and only if the press started exposing Ronnie Earle as a cheap trick.

Imagine the media reaction to some "rube" GOP DA who went around indicting Democrats, or to a GOP Attorney General who acted like Eliot Spitzer.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 19, 2004 10:32 AM

The GOP must listen to Tom DeLay and not to the MSM. They must not grant any quarter, any respite, any 'comity' to the Democrats.

i.e. show the Dems exactly as much consideration as they showed us when they were in power.
None whatsoever.
No quarter.
No mercy.

Posted by: Ken at November 19, 2004 7:05 PM