The secretary of defense was the latest casualty of the Iraq war, which gravely wounded the Republican Party in Tuesday's vote. Let's take a look at it.
Talking Points believes most Americans revere the U.S. military. Most of us feel terrible when Americans are killed or wounded on the battlefield, but the Iraq situation isn't about ideology. Most Americans don't want to cut and run. They understand that would put America in great jeopardy.
But after three and a half years, Americans are still dying every day and many voters believe there's no strategy for victory in Iraq. Thus, Rumsfeld's resignation on Wednesday.
Of course, that came too late to help the Republicans, who find themselves in the minority on Capitol Hill. If visible progress had been made in Iraq, that never would have happened.
So that's where we are. And every poll showed that Americans wanted change in Iraq and that's why the Democrats won.
Now the unintended consequence of the power shift in D.C. is that some Democrats will try to impose a secular-progressive agenda on the country.
First, there will be an attempt to raise taxes — Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel will lead that.
Second, new speaker, Nancy Pelosi, will encourage investigations of the Bush administration, seeking to create a scandal which would help the Democrat presidential nominee in 2008.
But that could backfire on the Democrats as most Americans do not want Mr. Bush attacked. They want to see if the Democrats can do better. They do not want to see their government ripped apart in a time of war.
There is a struggle within the Democratic Party itself. Far-left zealots like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean are stacked up against moderates like Joseph Lieberman and — dare I say it — Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton knows she can't win the presidency, which she desperately wants, by throwing in with the far left.
So here's what's going to happen in the next few years: President Bush will not get much done. He will veto any attempt to change his agenda, and Congress will not be able to override those vetoes. So there will be a stalemate and a chess game about the 2008 presidential votes.
Right now, the Democrats are in a good position. The country is giving them a chance to improve Iraq and the basic tone of politics in America. But if the Democrats try to destroy Mr. Bush or impose San Francisco values, the country will turn against them. There's no question in my mind.
And that's the Memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
We do have "The Most Ridiculous Item", however — election bloviating. Roll it:
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO. SENATOR-ELECT: It has been a long time since our party really had something to celebrate.
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: Tonight, the people of New Jersey rejected the politics of personal destruction. I received a call from Tom Kean Jr. congratulating me.
TOM KEAN JR., R-N.J. SENATE CANDIDATE: I want to congratulate Bob Menendez. We don't have to act like others. I'm serious.
TOM DELAY, R-TEXAS REPRESENTATIVE: The Republicans took a real Texas whipping.
KINKY FRIEDMAN, TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I made it difficult in the beginning. That made us gypsies on a pirate ship.
JAMES WEBB, D-VA. SENATOR-ELECT: I would like to say the votes were in, and we won.
SEN. GEORGE ALLEN, R-VA.: They are still counting votes.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-N.Y.: The vice president said regardless of the outcome, the administration would go full speed ahead in the same direction. The American people have said not so fast.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, R-CALIF.: I love doing sequels. I love doing sequels, I tell you. But this, without any doubt, is my favorite sequel.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: The campaign is over. Democrats are ready to lead.
We are prepared to govern.
As a major bloviator myself, I know it can be ridiculous. I think Arnold had the best line.