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Election 2002

Lessons I'm taking away from this election:

  • My politics are quite out of the mainstream, apparently.
  • In an off-year election, such as Reagan in '82 and Clinton in '94, the President's party is supposed to lose ground. Give credit to Bush and/or his handlers -- he had serious coattails. Almost every candidate he worked hard for won. (The Great South Dakota Proxy Battle between Bush and South Dakota's other senator, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, is still up in the air.)
  • Corollary to the previous point -- Bush's popularity is real. More Americans respect him than not. I'll attribute that to (1) America's increasing fiscal conservatism and (2) the lingering post-9/11 effect.
  • I've read some blogs lately in which Bush is derided as the "President-select" or the "usurper in chief." Sure, guys, whatever floats your boat. But as Cokie Roberts said this morning on NPR (RealAudio), now he's got a mandate that he didn't have after the 2000 election.
  • On the other hand, some Democrats have seen other moderate Democratic candidates -- those who supported Bush on Iraq and tax cuts, for example -- lose. The lesson they're taking from this is that they've got to have backbone and stand for something. Whether, in drawing a distinction between themselves and the Bush administration, they push themselves so far left as to be unelectable by a conservative public remains to be seen.

In other nightmarish news, my wife just called to let me know that she accidentally turned the channel to Teletubbies and now Will is rapturously watching television. No. No. A thousand times, no.