The Election: Winners and Losers

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Here are the winners and losers in the 2006 election. Let's start with the losers, because they are many:

President Bush: His plunge in popularity was a drag on Republicans, conservatives and moderates alike.

Vice President Dick Cheney and departing Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld: Since they are joined like Siamese twins, their collective failures in the war in Iraq were on the minds of many. Cheney's full-speed-ahead in Iraq is out just like stay the course was–no longer viable. It took an election to bring it about, but Rumsfeld should have been fired long ago!

Karl Rove: Bush's brain got a headache. His dirty trick politics have finally hit the wall.

Ken Mehlman: The GOP national chair should lose his job. Some ads were despicable.

Rick Santorum: The senator from Pennsylvania, swept into office as a hard-nosed conservative, met his match in Bob Casey by a huge margin.

Ohio Republicans: Scandal, the war, and payoffs turned this red state bright blue.

Dennis Hastert: The ex-wrestling coach dillydallied on Mark Foley and will be just another face in the crowd on the crowded floor of the House.

George Allen: Whether he loses or wins in a recount, Allen has made himself a laughingstock.

Newt Gingrich: He's talking about running for president? What a joke. He said Nancy Pelosi would bring San Francisco values to the House. His own values and morals should shut him up. Pelosi is free from any hint of scandal.

John Kerry: Do I need to explain further?

TV ad producers: They covered themselves with muck, not glory, in staging a last-minute drive. They made their commissions, but the Republican Party and its money folks have skinnier wallets.

One postscript on losers: Fox News, the so-called fair and balanced network, was pathetic. Commentators offered alibis and spin almost from the moment the polls closed. Keep watching, Republicans, if you want to get the latest from the White House and RNC.

And now for the winners:

Nancy Pelosi: The first woman speaker in U.S. history has a right to gloat, but she won't.

Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emmanuel: The Democratic campaign chiefs came through–big time, as Cheney would put it.

Howard Dean: The Democratic National Committee chair got out the vote in crucial contests.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Her landslide, as well as Democratic victories in her Northeast backyard, boost her presidential ambition. (I hope she doesn't run.)

Barack Obama: The senator from Illinois achieved rock-star status.

House candidates: A host of Democrats were moderates who couldn't be targeted as liberals. Just call them winners, without a label.

Harold Ford Jr. Yes, he lost in Tennessee, but his campaign won plaudits from both parties. No doubt he was a victim of some racism.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: The California governor is this year's comeback kid. He listened.