Well, that was certainly expected, if not desired. So this morning, CBS radio merrily informs me that the last time Congress changed hands was in 1994, "In an anti-incumbent surge just like this one."
Well, if they're talking about incumbents in Congress, that's just wrong. The big anger against those had peaked a few years earlier, and to no effect, as I wrote a few days back. And if they mean Clinton, that's plain ridiculous. Clinton was quite popular, coasted to reelection, and would remain so popular through all the scandals that would follow that he would've been reelected yet again if he had been allowed to.
Why did the Republicans win in '94? Simple: They had a clear-cut, popular, conservative agenda (which they delivered on) all mapped out. The Democrats, in 2006, have no such thing.
And, in fact, that's one silver lining for me. With no agenda, hopefully they'll be able to do little to no damage in two years. (And, of course, George W. Bush is thankfully still president.)
Note that I, ever the optimist, said two years. One good thing I've kept in mind ever since 1994 is how that election disproved any idea (believed somewhat before then by all) that any party "owns" Congress. (Republicans, alas, seemed to forget this in only twelve years, while Democrats, in power much longer, also seem to be unable to absorb it.) So how's that for another silver lining? Maybe the equally agenda-less Republicans will see how they have to wise up now. I doubt it- politicos are politicos-but one can always hope. (JPod makes a related point here.)
So silver linings there are, all well and good. (One particularly delicious one is the loss of Chafee, who probably would've switched anyway. As Mark Steyn pointed out here in his usual felicitous manner, "If only 100 citizens from a population of 300 million get to be senators, Lincoln Chafee should not be among them.") However, all those silver linings have a very dark cloud indeed: This isn't 1994, or 2000. As I wrote below, we have enemies who want to kill us (and quite a few others), and they watch the news- and they know what happened, even if the Democrats stop with the infantile behavior. So you'll forgive me if, among all the smiles and linings, I show a bit of gloom now and then. We will see what happens. Happier post next time, I hope!