Why didn't Karl Rove see this electoral deluge coming? Why was he "surprised" that Republican corruption -- which we can perhaps more easily describe as "hypocrisy" than "bribery" -- resonated with voters? Because Karl Rove is the most cynical man in America. When Rove looks at voters, he sees people who, like him, think the fact that corruption is everywhere sorta makes it OK, or he sees people who, like him, wink at corruption if it helps their side -- or, he sees "wackos" who can be led to the polls like lemmings to a cliff regardless of how corrupt Republicans are. Of course Karl Rove didn't anticipate that corruption would be an issue with voters! Karl Rove himself is corrupt to the marrow, a "master" at winning elections with whisper campaigns and hate-stoking and fearmongering. It's hard out there for a pimp.
Right-wingers have no business implying the 2006 results aren't "historic" by cherry-picking the evidence (as Karl Rove, perhaps not coincidentally, does in the above-linked Time article). Right-wingers downplay the Democratic victory by comparing Democratic House gains to previous House gains in the sixth year of a two-term President. But of the pundits I've read, only Charles Krauthammer conceded that the advance of scientific gerrymandering might have tempered the possibility of the wild results you saw, say, in 1938 and 1974. Thus, using this handy House-made guide, I've compared the 2006 House gain with House gains since 1986, when gerrymandering seemed to stabilize House races. As you can see, House gains were between 2 and 9 seats in every two-year election cycle between 1986 and 2006, save for two. You can guess which two. Ann Coulter should be excited, I suppose, that her exception to the rule (1994) is bigger than the liberals' exception to the rule (2006) -- though voters were, for some reason, willing to put up with Democratic corruption for around 40 years, versus only 12 for Republicans, and, right, during most of those 40 years Democrats didn't enjoy the built-in advantage of scientific gerrymandering.
The Chicago Tribune did a human interest piece on the Democrats' Architekkkt, Rahm Emanuel, but his architecture, so to speak, isn't that impressive -- as John Walsh points out, only 9 of 22 Emanuel recruits won Congressional seats (and therefore only 9 of 29 incoming Democrats who beat Republicans are Emanuel recruits). The incorrigible Alexander Cockburn and the less incorrigible Jeffrey St. Clair make the same point by focusing on Tammy Duckworth's failure in Henry Hyde's district (though they mis-state the case by claiming Christine Cegelis "almost took down" Hyde in 2004) and Emanuel reject Jerry McNerney's resounding victory in Richard Pombo's district as cases in point. Read their work and you'll start thinking that being a liberal actually wins votes, while being a "moderate" turns voters off. Unless, of course, you're already thinking that, like me.
Both Mr. Bush and Ms. Pelosi have spoken in recent days about the need for "bipartisanship." Two words: hell no! Our patriotic duty as citizens is not to "compromise" with a party that's little better than France's National Front at this point. Think that's mean? The Republicans have branded themselves as the party of bigots, the party of nativists, the party of warmongers, the party of corporate greedheads, and the party of religious nutjobs, and I don't see a whole lot of daylight between the brand and the truth. If conservatives actually believe in conserving traditional values like hard work and initiative (no, not reactionary values like denying gays and women equal rights) and avoiding hifalutin solutions that make problems worse, like their ideological forefather Russell Kirk did, then conservatives need to take their party back, or start a new one, or become Libertarians. But, though incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is right to suggest that a 49-seat minority in the Senate is still quite formidable, good Americans must not become Republican enablers through a misguided devotion to "bipartisanship" or "peace." If you reach out without standing your ground, you'll fall on your face. And then the Republicans will kick you in the teeth.