Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Voter Rebuke For Bush, the War And the Right

The political pendulum in American politics swung away from the right yesterday, putting an end to the 12-year Republican Revolution on Capitol Hill and delivering a sharp rebuke of President Bush and the Iraq war.

The GOP reign in the House that began with Newt Gingrich in a burst of vision and confrontation in 1994 came crashing down amid voter disaffection with congressional corruption. The collapse of one-party rule in Washington will transform Bush's final two years in office and challenge Democrats to make the leap from angry opposition to partners in power.

How far the balance shifts to the left remains to be seen. The passion of the antiwar movement helped propel party activists in this election year, and the House leadership under the likely new speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), hails from the party's liberal wing. But the Democrats' victory was built on the back of more centrist candidates seizing Republican-leaning districts, and Pelosi emphasized that she will try to lead without becoming the ideological mirror of Gingrich.

"We have learned from watching the Republicans -- they would not allow moderates a voice in their party," Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in an interview as he waited to see if Democrats would take control of the upper chamber as well. "We must work from the middle."

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