A few leftovers from the election:
- Right-wing fans of the right-wing-blowhard Rush Limbaugh should know he played a huge part in the Democratic takeover of the Senate.
Limbaugh's disgraceful mimicking of Michael J. Fox brought in a flurry of money givers to the campaign of Sen.-elect Claire McCaskill in Missouri. She managed to eke out a victory over incumbent Republican Jim Talent. She acknowledged the money was a boost in the home stretch.
I know this breaks a vow not to mention Limbaugh's name again, but this was too inviting. Nice going, Rush. May your GOP listeners give you hell.
- Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, now officially independent Democrat of Connecticut, has a unique role to play in the next Senate.
- As one who was shunned by many colleagues including Sen. Chris Dodd from his home state, Lieberman doesn't seem to be eager to settle any scores with those friends who campaigned against him.
- However, Lieberman's position on the war hasn't really changed, as his words showed on the November 12 broadcast of Meet the Press. He may even pick other issues to assert his independence.
- Don't be shocked either when Sen.-elect Jim Webb of Virginia, who showed Sen. George Allen the door, is unpredictable and could show a maverick streak when the yeas and nays are ordered.
- Two of the big losers were the husband-wife team of James Carville, the irascible Democrat consultant, and Mary Matalin, the far-out conservative Republican.
After the election, Carville said that GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman had done a better job than his own party leader, Howard Dean. Huh?
Mehlman is out of a job and his committee sponsored some of the most hateful ads of the campaign. Dean's get-out-the-vote effort worked, and he's a winner. Carville needs a sabbatical.
Matalin had figured to work in a presidential campaign for Allen. He is a forgotten man for 2008. She still does political work for Vice President Cheney, even more unpopular than President Bush. And she predicted in the Washington Post that the GOP would retain control of the House and Senate. She must have been polling on Mars or Pluto.
- Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, now the Senate majority leader, is popular with his Democratic colleagues in the chamber. But in an era where presence on television is necessary, he's about a 3 on the basis of a 1 to 10.
As a realist, he would be wise to turn over more public appearances to Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. He's smart, articulate, and a strong figure on TV.
The Republicans will do better with Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in front of the cameras. Outgoing Majority Leader Bill Frist has been listless and uninspiring at best.
- Finally, let me join the chorus in lamenting the loss of GOP Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, a veteran legislator who worked hard quietly to get things done. He was caught up in the whirlwind against his party. As a moderate who disdained negative advertising, he will be missed.