“This one is pretty easy to explain,” Fred Barnes writes at www.weeklystandard.com.
“Republicans lost the House and probably the Senate because of Iraq, corruption, and a record of taking up big issues and then doing nothing on them. Of these, the war was by far the biggest factor. Unpopular wars trump good economies and everything else. President Truman learned this in 1952, as did President Johnson in 1968. Now, it was President Bush’s turn, and since his name wasn’t on the ballot, his party took the hit,” Mr. Barnes said.
“The defeat for Republicans was short of devastating — but only a little short. The House seats the party lost in New York and Connecticut and Pennsylvania will be hard to win back. Just as Republicans have locked in their gains in the South over the past two decades, Democrats should be able to solidify their hold on seats in the Northeast, as the nation con- tinues to split sharply along NorthSouth lines.
“What should worry Republicans most, however, is erosion of its strength in the West and in two states in particular: Colorado and Arizona. Four years ago, Colorado was solidly Republican. Since then, Democrats have won a Senate seat, two House seats, the governorship, and both houses of the state legislature. At the state level, that’s realignment.
“In Arizona, Republicans dropped two House seats and Republican Sen. John Kyl got a mild scare. Kyl, by the way, may be the finest and most able senator in Washington. He’s certainly in the top five. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano cruised to victory.
“The bottom line is this: Col- orado and Arizona may not be there for Republicans in the 2008 presidential race. Of course, everything depends on the actual candidates, but these two states start out as presidential swing states. This is a new development.”
Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Nov. 8 that rather than governing “from the middle,” the parties must “govern from conscience.”