- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008


“Even before the final results showing a Democratic sweep were in, Washington’s pundits were declaring that nothing had really changed politically in the country,” the New Republic’s John B. Judis writes at www.tnr.com.

“In a cover story labeled ‘America the Conservative,’ Newsweek editor Jon Meacham warned that, “should Obama win, he will have to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal.” Mr. Meacham’s judgment was echoed by Peter Wehner, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “America remains, in the main, a center-right nation,” Mr. Wehner wrote in The Washington Post.

“These guys - and the others who are counseling Barack Obama and the Democrats to ‘go slow’ - couldn’t be more wrong,” Mr. Judis said. “They are looking at Obama’s election through the prism of Jimmy Carter’s win in 1976 and Bill Clinton’s victory in 1992. Both Carter and Clinton did misjudge the mood of the country.

“They tried unsuccessfully to govern a country from the center-left that was moving to the right (in Carter’s case) or that was only just beginning to move leftward (in Clinton’s case), and were rebuked by the voters. But Obama is taking office under dramatically different circumstances. His election is the culmination of a Democratic realignment that began in the ‘90s, was held in abeyance by September 11, and had resumed in the 2006 election. …

“Unlike Carter and Clinton, Obama will be taking office with the wind at his back rather than in his face.”


“For Republicans, losing the White House and watching Democrats pile up bigger majorities in the Senate and House was bad enough. But there was another painful downside to the 2008 election. Republicans have been practically driven out of an entire section of the country: the Northeast,” Fred Barnes writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

“With the defeat of Republican Chris Shays of Connecticut, Republicans now have no House members in New England. Before the 2006 election, they had five - three in Connecticut and two in New Hampshire,” Mr. Barnes said.

“And Republican trouble continued as well in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and extended into Ohio and Michigan. Republicans thought 2006 was a bad year in New York, but their losing streak continued with three more House seats going to Democrats. They also lost at least one House seat in Pennsylvania, one in New Jersey, two in Ohio and one in Michigan.

“What’s the problem? Most of these losses, like the ones two years ago, have come in marginally Republican districts, ones that often elected moderate Republicans in the past, Republicans like Shays. Now these districts have become hostile to Republicans of any ideological stripe.

“When things go wrong nationally for Republicans, these are the seats that topple. In more conservative House districts - in the South, for instance - Republicans have managed to hang on.

“What exactly has gone wrong? Two things. The first is the party’s image, which has suffered because of an unpopular Republican president, scandals in Congress and a party the media claims is too conservative. The other is the sour political mood in the country caused by a weak economy, the financial meltdown, and the feeling the nation is headed in the wrong direction.”


“All Americans should be glad that a black American has been able to make it to the presidency, and hope that President-elect Barack Obama’s time in office will redound to the country’s long-term benefit,” National Review said Wednesday in an editorial at www.nationalreview.com.

“We wish the outcome of [Tuesday’s] elections had been different. Liberals will shortly be in the driver’s seat in Washington in a way they have not been since the Great Society. The Democratic majority in Congress will be slightly smaller than the one that greeted President Clinton in 1993, but much more homogeneous in its liberalism,” the conservative magazine said.

“Yet the public has not embraced many of the central aspects of liberalism. President-elect Barack Obama’s record and positions put him well to the left of any president in the last four decades. But to judge from his campaign, he is a man who wants to cut taxes, defend an individual right to own guns, take a hard line on terrorists in Pakistan, reduce the abortion rate, allow people to keep their health care plans, and keep trade free. The polls suggest that he was wise to run in this fashion: They show that the public remains as skeptical about federal activism and social liberalism as they have been for years.

“The public has, however, clearly rejected the Republican Party in its present configuration.”


“An old British quip is that the passengers jumped ship so fast that even the rats were left gaping in admiration. Rats everywhere in Washington are no doubt admiring Ken Duberstein’s decision late last week to dump his old friend John McCain and endorse Barack Obama,” Paul A. Gigot writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“The media gave his endorsement fulsome play, citing Mr. Duberstein as a former chief of staff to Ronald Reagan to play up the story about one more Republican defection to Mr. Obama,” Mr. Gigot said.

“The truth is that Mr. Duberstein is a perfect Washington weather vane, a Beltway fixer who makes his living from influence peddling. He made a bundle as a lobbyist for Fannie Mae, specializing in massaging Republicans, then joined Fannie’s board in 1998 and retained a consulting contract that paid $375,000 a year, according to Fannie’s proxy statement.

“He was on Fannie’s board amid the controversy over its accounting that eventually turned into a multibillion-dollar earnings restatement. Mr. Duberstein is also close to Colin Powell and has never much liked the Bush crowd, though he had advised Mr. McCain in the past and has long been his friend.

“The betrayal of an old friend can be written off as a cost of doing business in Washington. As for Mr. Obama’s claim that his presidency will reduce the sway of lobbyists in Washington, consider Mr. Duberstein’s endorsement to be a more accurate sign of the times.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or Greg Pierce.

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