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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

November 9, 2006

Tombers On The Mornings After…

On the night of Tuesday, November 7, the LOOOOONNNNGGGG awaited day of voter reckoning, I feel asleep to the natter of CNN reporting on national races, having heard that the Democrats had taken back the House, that Joe Lieberman had been returned to his Senate seat, a now “independent” who would caucus with the Democrats.

As I drifted into the waiting arms of Morpheus, the control of the Senate hung in the balance in Montana and Virginia. Senator “Macaca” Allen, the sitting Senator from Virginia [R] was not conceding defeat to Jim Webb, his opponent, who was claiming victory. As the week wore on, Senator Allen conceded, realizing Virginians, by a slim margin, no longer wanted him in the Senate.

In Rhode Island, the moderate Republican Senator Chafee was swept from office by a Democrat. They had similar positions on virtually everything; Mr. Chafee just happened to be a Republican in a state that felt Republicans had overstayed their majority welcome.

Now, as the week begins to wind down, both the Senate and the House are in the hands of the Democrats.

Locally, the stunning upset was that Representative John Sweeney was pushed out of his seat by a newcomer from my neighboring town of Greenport. He was a Republican that was, until not many weeks ago, considered unbeatable, she unelectable.

My home county is overwhelmingly Republican and while it was almost a forgone conclusion [rightly so] that Eliot Spitzer [D] would win the Governorship, it was not thought really possible that Sweeney would go down to defeat. However, the Chinese water torture of Iraq, Abramhoff, salacious e-mails from resigned Representative Foley and a mysterious 911 call made to the police by Sweeney’s wife one night, all dripped down upon his forehead, maddening not him but the electorate.

While it was not so momentous a turn of political wind as the 1994 election that swept the Republicans to their current heights, it was, is, a significant wake up call to the Republican party that America is largely comprised right now of Howard Beale’s, [NETWORK] who are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more.

In New York, 3 out of 4 voters signaled in exit polls that their voting booth performance was a statement of dissatisfaction with Republicans while it was 3 out of 5 in virtually every other part of the country.

On my train into the city on the morning after, the Republican contingent of riders was visibly shocked while the Democrats were stunned; not quite believing it had been pulled off.

That the Democrats have won a “victory” does not elate me. Most won because they sensed, rightly, the mood of the country shifting and bore down upon that emotional swing with a singular ruthlessness that would have made any political bloodhound proud.

The wearying difficulty is that is all they seem to stand for: they weren’t Republican.

There were some surprises: Minnesota elected an African American [not so strange] to Congress who is Muslim [now that’s interesting], making the gentleman the first Muslim to serve in Congress [probably not a bad thing].

More surprising was the announcement that Rumsfeld was resigning; unthinkable on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, he was the smiling sacrificial calf to party defeat, going with grace, and not a moment too soon for most in the country.

Not surprising that Hillary Clinton won the Senate Race though most New York papers assume it is not an election victory so much as the opening salvo to her race for the Presidential nomination. The electioneering for the nomination for the top spot in both parties now begins in earnest. [This election has left me exhausted; I don’t have the strength yet for 2008.]

The shift in the political winds is not so much a triumph of one party’s ideas over another’s; it was a cry of pain from an electorate that is feeling squeezed by events they couldn’t control nor could, it appeared, those in power.