I'm cautiously optomistic about the results of the elections. Granted, Bobby Rush (despite one of my first votes for a Republican in my life), Todd Stroger, and James Houlihan did not lose and I'm not so sure I'm stoked about a Nancy Pelosi-Harry Reid led Democratic Party, but things are still good. Donald Rumsfeld: gone. Ricky Santorum: Gone. Conrad Burns: Gone. Richard Pombo: gone. I would have liked to have seen Tammy Duckworth win and am disappointed that Harold Ford didn't, but I like the Democrats coming into Congress.
Yes, a liberal Democratic is happy about the moderate, socially conservative Democratics elected. I'm sure the media will spin spin and spin some more about the conservatism of the Democrats elected, but if you really look at people like John Tester and Sherrod Brown, it's a more complicated story. As Joe Conanson notes in salon.com, these men and women are economic populists whose wins validated the What's the Matter with Kansas" thesis of Republican dominance (for an unsympathetic reading of this trend, see this article in slate.com). These winning Democrats spoke to people's legitimate fears and anxieties about the "New Economy." What upper middle class intelligentsia types (myself included) don't realize is that the New Economy that so benefits them is killing the broad middle class that used to exist in America. We're rapidly created a Third Worldish, two-tiered economy in which the hyper rich, globalist, hyper-educated urban elite are served by an increasingly larger low wage economy. Conservatives have been able to tap into this anger by framing it as a "heartland" vs. "costal" values issue. What the Browns, Testers, and McCaskills have done is broke open that frame: it's not just about effete snobbish values. It's about the public policies that are facilitating this erosion of the middle class.
I'm excited about the possibilities. All of a sudden we've got people in the Senate, in Congress, who can talk honestly about the economic hollowing out of middle america without being vulnerable to attacks on gay marriage, abortion or whatever "issue de jour" the cynical manipulators of the right come up with. I'm hoping that Democrats take this opportunity to reveal the true nature of the right and its program for America.
Of course, do I think Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, New Democrat Rahm Emanuel and Chuckie Schumer can do it?