1. Does Terry McAuliffe have to resign? Or can he say "At least we built a really nice DNC building in DC, even though we got hammered again under my nonleadership"? Cause the building is all they've got now.
2. Did anyone really think Kerry would lose this big? Other than Bob Novak and a few people whose direct contacts with reality are largely nonexistent? I was sure Kerry would win, though I thought it would be close. Kerry didn't win, and it was not particularly close.
3. Should Erskine Bowles start a "rent-a-doormat" business? "I'll spend millions of my own money, and make ANY other candidate for office look smart!" He hasn't lost a Governor's race yet, and that other Senate seat comes up again in four more years. Richard Burr is a fencepost with ears, yet he beat Bowles pretty handily. Who in the world is telling Bowles he has any talent as a politician?
4. Big winner: conventional wisdom. Given the performance of the economy, Bush should have won. Given that most of the seats up for grabs in the Senate were in Dem hands, the Repubs should have picked up seats. And that all happened.
5. I was just flat wrong, on net Senate seats and the Prez race. I had thought the Dems would be able to take advantage of obvious low-hanging fruit (the war thing, the job loss in key states, Bush's obvious problems in the debates, that sort of stuff). But the Dems live in a dream world, and both Kerry and Dem Senate candidates (including Bowles) ran like they were incumbents, not challengers. Challengers have to challenge. One of my Duke colleagues, a big Dem guy, told me as late as Monday this week he was sure Kerry would win North Carolina. And it was because everybody he talked to hated Bush so much. "Look, there's Dorothy, get those ruby slippers! There's no place like Oz; there's no place like Oz...." You might want to get out more, man.
6. Bush was completely, totally beatable. Kerry was a weak candidate who ran a terrible campaign (which I have been saying for months, even though it made my Dem pals at Duke crazy to hear it.) But if they had run any of the other nebishes (Dean? Gephardt? Graham? Edwards?) the outcome would have been the same. The Dems are intellectually bankrupt. Their only platform is "Vote for us, and we will give you other peoples' money." It's not working.
Ick. Somebody has to take the Repubs down. Cause this is terrifying.