GOP officials: Rumsfeld stepping down – CNN.com
If I were George Allen or Conrad Burns — well, then I’d be an idiot, but anyway — if I were them, I would be pissed off beyond belief that he couldn’t have stepped down two weeks ago and saved my job in the process.
UPDATE: Robert Gates to replace him. There had been some Lieberman speculation but Connecticut voters would have revolted if that happened.
The Republican spin on their catastrophic defeat is that this is just a “six-year itch” where people got tired of the same party in power in the legislative and presidential branches since 2000. First off, of course they’re tired of you running the country into the ground. But this as some sort of cyclical thing doesn’t wash.
Look, the primary reason that the parties of second term presidents tend to do badly in midterms is the election cycle; the incoming president tends to bring in some weak members of his own party who are swept out when running on their own, which in the Senate is the sixth year after the president’s initial election. This isn’t the case this time. The Republican losses were mostly in seats they already held in 2000. George Bush, lest you forget, lost the popular vote in 2000 and had no coattails.
The Senate landscape this time actually favored the Republicans. The Democrats held 18 of the 33 seats being contested. The Republicans didn’t win any; they only seriously challenged in New Jersey and Maryland. The Republicans had only 15 seats up for election and are going to lose four, five, or six, most likely the latter. The seats not up for grabs are mostly Republican — a 40 to 27 lead. It’s the seats of 2002’s and 2004’s first-time Republicans which hold the balance of power going forward. I could see the Democrats holding 55 to 57 seats after the 2008 elections. The war’s not going anywhere and it’s only going to get worse.
“Troy King” won, which is profoundly disappointing. But Jim Folsom Jr. held on to become Lieutenant Governor for the second time, and set himself up for a try at becoming Governor for the second time in four years. (Or he could inherit the office again; if Riley wasn’t on the VP short list already he is now, what with being one of only about six Republicans to win last night.)
And Sue Bell Cobb won the Supreme Court Chief Justice race, which I never really allowed myself to hope for. I don’t know what a Chief can do surrounded by eight Republicans, but it will be interesting.
Nancy Worley lost Sec. of State. I held my nose and voted for her, but I can’t say I’m disappointed.
LII: Constitution: Amendment XXV
I’m about to go to bed, but here’s something interesting…
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
In other words, if Dick Cheney keels over (if he hasn’t already watching these returns) his replacement would have to be ratified not only by the Senate (which I still think winds up 50-50 with Cheney the tiebreaker) but the House. And a Democratic-controlled House is really unlikely to ratify any Republican who could be a credible Presidential candidate.
In other words, if Cheney dies, Pelosi moves to a heartbeat away, and she won’t go anywhere. And yes, I remember that West Wing sequence.
I don’t know if we’re going to take the Senate yet or not — I think it’s going to be 50-50, probably, which at least will keep Cheney locked in a Washington cage for the next two years — but I still feel pretty good.
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