Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Telling Difference

It's instructive to look at the difference between the Republicans' loss this year and the Democrats' losses in 2000 and 2004.

You don't hear Republicans demanding the world stop while every single ballot is scrutinised. You don't see Republicans demanding that every single possibility be studied to death until someone's suspicion is confirmed.

There's no talk of secession. There's no talk of moving to ... well, anywhere. No talk of PelosiLand, or "Light Fingers Harry" stealing elections. No wailing that the Republic is ended in an orgy of drugs and sex from those insane Democrats. No filthy language or crude epithets.

Just a sense that "We lost, but we'll try again next time." A recognition of what likely went wrong and a willingness to fix themselves, instead of eviscerating the Democrats to place the blame in them.

If anything, I'm picking up a strong sense of opportunity from Republicans. A chance to get new leadership that will address core issues meaningfully. A sense of a watershed, even.

No screaming for heads. No bloodthirsty mobs demanding sacrifice. In fact, the two most prominent victims (Hastert and Rumsfeld) went down before the election results had even become completely clear! Fell on their own swords, quickly and without fuss, in the morning light.

To be fair, inasmuch as I've paid attention, the "nutroots" crowd seems to have shut up, at least for now. Their big moment -- the Lamont insurgency -- came to a crashing close. Lieberman is truly in the catbird seat thanks to them. Most of the Democratic freshman class of '06 is decidedly centrist/moderate/conservative. The Kossacks have demonstrated their electoral impotence and irrelevance to the Democratic Party.

Will they continue the useless fighting? Recalibrate after reflection? Set their sights on the Green Party? Start a Progressive Party? Who knows.

But it's clear: the aftermath of the loss of '06 is a staid and tidy affair compared to the threats, rancor and acrimony of '00 and '04. Words and behavior say a lot and say it clearly. It's instructive to compare.

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