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 Sweeneys 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
Beales, [NETWORK] who are mad as hell and arent
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 werent Republican.
There were some surprises: Minnesota elected an African American
[not so strange] to Congress who is Muslim [now thats
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 dont have the strength yet
The shift in the political winds is not so much a triumph
of one partys ideas over anothers; it was a cry
of pain from an electorate that is feeling squeezed by events
they couldnt control nor could, it appeared, those in