- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2008



By any measure, yesterday’s elections were a historic victory for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. The extraordinary racial progress this country has made is undeniable, too. Less than half a century after Congress passed historic legislation ending the odious Jim Crow system in the South and ensuring voting rights for Southern blacks, a black American is now called president-elect. In this sense, his victory, after winning the votes of millions of Americans of every racial and ethnic group, represents a remarkable victory for the nation.

But there is no getting around the fact that Mr. Obama is a doctrinaire liberal, and yesterday’s elections were a great victory for the political left. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have much bigger majoriities, enabling them to push through substantial tax increases, large boosts in domestic spending and large - even dangerous - reductions in national defense.

For John McCain and the Republican Party, the election represents a rejection of the Republican Party - the second consecutive massive defeat at the polls for the GOP, coming just two years after the party lost its House and Senate majorities. Myriad factors have combined to lead the Democrats to victories.

The Democratic turnout was enourmous in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia, where Sen. Barack Obama was able to turn former Republican strongholds, but there were no coat-tails and few surprises in the “good thumpin’ ” as President Bush said in 2006.

From the very beginning as the first states - New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky - closed at 7 p.m., it didn’t look good. Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner easily defeated his predecessor James Gilmore for the open senate seat (50). Then former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, defeated Sen. John Sununu (51). Sen. Elizabeth Dole followed, losing to Kay Hagen in North Carolina (52). Two hours later, Rep. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, became Sen. Udall (53), followed by his cousin, Rep. Tom Udall, New Mexico Democrat (54). In the end, the Democrats won’t have the 60-vote, filibuster majority they had hoped for. But that doesn’t mean they won’t make political life hard for Republicans and independents.

In the House Democrats were expected to pick up 25 seats and possibly more reaching 260 seats at least, compared to 170 or fewer for Republicans.

Not since Lyndon Johnson has a Democratic president ascended to the White House on the shoulders of such a majority of his party in the Congress. Republican losses for two straight cycles have handicapped the party and there is no external force to blame. Democrats, well funded and buttressed by what Tom Delay labels in his op-ed on our pages today as the “Shadow Party of organizations run by former Clinton administration officials - the Center for American Progress, the Thunder Road Group, MoveOn.org, - have grown and concentrated the extreme left of the Democratic Party. This liberal infrastructure, which now dwarfs conservatism’s in size, scope, and sophistication, will be setting and helping to impose the national agenda for the coming years. The time has come for conservatives to wake up and smell the 21st century,” Mr. DeLay said.

He is absolutely right. Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats now have the high-tech registration database that Republicans boasted of 20 years ago. It is they who can walk down any neighborhood street in America and pick out the homes of their voters. Gone are the years of consecutive Republcian gains and the expansion of the conservative movement that ended the Cold War, brought about welfare reform, free trade and lower income and capital gains and dividend taxes.

The major spending issues remaining - Social Security, tax reform, health care - will be led by the Democrats. It is likely that this Democratic majority as in the past will not be entirely unified with Blue Dogs and moderates that helped them gain the majority. But it is certainly more liberal than any agenda Bill Clinton ever proposed.

The shift is undeniable.

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