Thank God the election is over.
By the time Tuesday rolled around, I’d had my fill of phone calls from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, First Lady Laura Bush and others pushing the Republican cause in Illinois’ Sixth Congressional District.
Rudy called here about three times. The first time he called, I wasn’t home. So he was kind enough to leave a message. I didn’t erase it. Instead, when my wife got home from the office that night, I told her Rudy called, seeking her vote for Peter Roskam.
She didn’t believe me. Then she checked the messages and she couldn’t believe what she heard – a recorded political message from Rudy. That went on through the last four days prior to the election, with Rudy calling back three more times; Laura called only once.
I’m not sure I ever want to see another flyer ever again either. I’m not sure how many we received from the Roskam campaign, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was around six. Tammy Duckworth only sent one or two.
Now comes the hard part – governing. The Democrats and President Bush must lead the country under a new set of circumstances. The smart thinkers among the Democrats will soon learn that skills required to be an administration’s constant critic are quite different than the abilities needed to manage, govern and lead. Smart Republicans, at the same time, are figuring out where they can agree with their loyal opponents, so they’re in a stronger position in 2008 and than they were this year.
For U. S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the next likely Speaker of the House, and President Bush, their challenge will be keeping their supporters on the extreme left and right under control as they find areas where they can easily compromise and pass legislation that benefits them both.
Pelosi is a smart political thinker. She knows her margin over the Republicans is thin. The same will hold for whoever is elected as the next Senate Majority Leader.
For that matter, President Bush and the Congressional Republican leadership know that while they’re not quite down and out, they need to play their cards smarter if they want to ensure their future.
Pelosi’s challenge will be to make sure this election isn’t a fluke. Her challenge will be to hold together moderates and extremes within her party, and it’s my prediction that she’ll temper her views, at least publicly.
Bush and Pelosi, in fact, may discover that sometimes there’s nothing worse than an ally with whom you share the same political affiliation.
This is one of these times in our political history when the goals of both the executive and legislative branch are just as equally aligned as they are opposed.
For the President, his goal over the next two years will be to secure a legacy that has him riding high in the polls by the time he leaves office. He will also seek to make Republicans far more palatable to the electorate, so he’s succeeded in 2009 by another member of his party.
The Democrats also want The White House. So they’ll do whatever is necessary to hold their position, so they’re perceived as elect-able and able to govern the country.
How will all of this turn out? Stay tuned.