Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Apparent Change of Course?

Last night, the Democratic Party took the House. In the Senate, the current breakdown is 49 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and 2 independents. Currently there is one seat undecided seat in Virginia with Democrat Jim Webb leading by 6,708 votes. In Virginia there could be a recount. By state law, the state will pay for a recount if the difference is under 0.5%, which it is. But this cannot take place until 10 days after the election when the results are certified. Virginia is now on my list of states to consider expulsion from the Unites States, along with Florida and Ohio.

News that would have been the top story any other day, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is stepping down and will be replaced by Robert Gates. Robert Gates is from the old George H. W. Bush team, the former director of the CIA and the President of Texas A & M. According to Bush in a press conference today, Bush talked to Gates last week and talked to Rumsfeld yesterday. Apparently, Vice President Cheney was opposed to getting rid of Rumsfeld but Bush went against him. The news is saying that the age of idealogues, e.g. Rumsfeld and Cheney, is over. I'd say personally that pragmatism is more characteristic of political conservatism than ideology, so this is a good thing. One has to wonder if Bush had made this change earlier if this would have resulted in a better night for Republicans. I think considering the closeness of many races, that if the Bush had made this change earlier that the Republicans would likely have kept control of the Senate, and although they probably still would have lost the House they would have held onto more seats. (On a side note, I remember meeting Gates a few years ago kind of randomly, although I don't remember much about it.)

Bush said that he did not think that they were going to get such a 'thumpin.' He talked about working with the Democrats to get things accomplished. He said he wants to get the troops but with victory, and they can work together assuming that its not just get the troops home immediately. He pointed to raising the minimum wage, alternative energy, and a comprehensive immigration plan as some areas that they can work together one. Interestingly, there is a better chance for Bush to get a comprehensive immigration plan through with a Democratic Congress. Bush was asked about how he was going to get pass the harsh words said by the Democrats about him, and vice versa, during the campaign. Bush replied that the campaign was over and in the business of politics you can't hold grudges of you won't get anything accomplished.

Bush was also asked about the contest between him and Karl Rove to read more books in a year. Karl Rove is, but more importantly, Bush said that maybe he was campaigning harder than Rove, which was received with laughter. Does this signal a change in Bush's political strategy? Karl Rove thought that he had access to better numbers and math than media, and was proven wrong last night. Apparently all he had access to was fuzzy numbers.

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