Dick Morris argues that ultra-liberal Democrats don't have a mandate (as I've already claimed).

But how did it achieve these majorities? It did so lifted by the wings of moderate, centrist Democrats who mastered their GOP opponents throughout the country. It was not liberals who defeated Republican incumbents in the House and Senate. It was moderates, future members of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). ...

The irony is that the expressed will of the American people has been so radically ignored in the shaping of the 110th Congress. The fact is that the elevation of Nancy Pelosi to the speakership is no more a legitimate expression of the voters’ will than would be the retention of Dennis Hastert. The seniority system, rigidly applied by Pelosi in violation of the spirit of the Gingrich reforms of 1994, has ordained that a liberal establishment will run Congress, whatever the voters say.

Is there anyone who will sanely maintain that Rangel represents the broad middle of American views on tax reform, or that Levin speaks for most Americans on national security? All that has happened is that the ranking members have become the chairmen, regardless of their views or qualifications. It is a gesture of homage to seniority that would have the approval of the segregationists that used to run Congress by applying the same ground rules. Back then, no matter how loudly voters demanded integration and an end to racism, the Democratic majority kept apartheid firmly in place. The distortion of the electorate’s will taking place now on Capitol Hill is no more extreme.

Still, he thinks that Hillary will win the presidency in 2008 and that the Republicans will have to wait on her for their revival (again, as in 1994). I personally speculate that the Democrats will overreach in Congress over the next two years, and that the anyone-but-Bush party will falter once their nemesis is no longer running for office.

John Heilermann agrees:

Yet Biden also knows that the Democrats’ internal wrangling over Iraq has the potential to be explosively divisive, as the antiwar left and the Netroots make demands that party centrists may find extreme. And he knows that voters will be watching the party carefully to see which route it takes. There can be no doubt that the results of the 2006 midterms constitute a stinging and nearly total repudiation of Bush’s management of the war and his handling of foreign affairs more broadly. What they don’t amount to, though, is a ringing endorsement of Democratic leadership in those areas—not least because the party, by design, turned the campaign into a referendum on Bush and not into a choice between two competing visions of dealing with the world.

And I think that fighting Bush personally is just about all the Democrat party has been up for. That's been their organizing principle, and it's not at all clear that they'll be able to maintain their coalition once Bush is gone.



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