The Next Two Years
Democrats now have a firm hold on the House of Representatives and picked up a few seats the US Senate, ending years of Republican control of both houses of Congress. So what happens now?
What happens now is that we take them to task on their promises. Their entire campaign has been built on trashing Republican corruption and the war in Iraq, and we're giving them the chance to prove them mean it. Democrats had better darn well have a plan to sweep up the corruption, build support with the other side (because George won't have any issues using the veto power now), and not end up having all of the problems of the next two years sweep them out as quickly as they got swept in. Democrats, here's some free advice.
Firstly, clean up your own house. This means you have to censure and even expel members of both their party and the Republican Party who are found caught up in improprieties. No justifying, no claims of partisan attacks. These guys are very wealthy and can afford a lawyer and accountant to tell them if what they're doing is legal or not. They can probably even spring for an image consultant to tell them which legal things aren't going to reflect well on them. If you really mean business on corruption, you'll take it on regardless of party. A good first step would be censuring Harry Reid for being so forgetful about his land deal. (C'mon Harry, you're a multi-millionaire: hire a bean-counter.)
Secondly, you had better shoot for the middle ground and keep the crazy left out of your decision-making process. It already cost you guys the Senate by letting the radical wing expel Lieberman. Keep Nancy Pelosi on a very short leash. If you start spouting off about nationalized healthcare, gay marriage, or impeachment hearings, it'll be a repeat of '94. Come up with rational solutions to issues that appeal to a wide base, don't mess with the economy (it's doing quite well right now, thanks), and put your money where your mouth is on cutting deficits. Raise taxes and you'll be walking the plank, so stick to budget cuts.
Now what do I think is really going to happen in the next two years? Everybody will agree on not raising taxes, but nobody will want to cut spending. The deficit will become the Democrat's problem as they spend all of their time trying to push a withdrawal from Iraq and raising the minimum wage. Congressional Republicans will filibuster everything to death (sound like a familiar tactic, doesn't it guys?) and the President will finally discover his veto power. Without a super-majority to override the veto, Democrats will have to water-down the legislation to get it to pass and have the more liberal wings of the party up in arms. The economy will start to cool off (it's cyclical, so sucks to be you on the timing), so Democrats might end up being associated with a souring economy as well. They'll practically hand Congress and the White House to Republicans in 2008 while caught up in party in-fighting and will spend most of their time accusing the other side of the same things they've been accusing them of for the last 6 years.
In other words, back to square one.