Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Final thoughts on the 2006 election

I've waited an entire week to comment on the results of the Nov. 7 election. Now that the dust has settled, here are some random thoughts.

While I was disappointed that Ed Rendell and his young ward, Bobby Casey Jr., won their respective races — both are bad for Pennsylvania — I can't say that I was surprised Republicans lost control of Congress.

The GOP majority over the past few years has betrayed the Republican cause and acted just like Democrats. They got lazy and greedy — just like Democrats. And there's no arguing that the Bush administration has botched the Iraq War. Republicans deserved what they got.

Having said that, my biggest worry over the next two years is that President Bush won't be able to appoint a solid conservative to the Supreme Court should one of the aging liberals on the court kick the bucket. Instead of a John Roberts or a Samuel Alito, we'll probably end up with another Anthony Kennedy or David Souter. That's the biggest downside to a Democratic majority in the Senate.

Otherwise, I had a pretty good Election Day.

My favorite candidate, Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6th Dist.), won his race against the heavily favored Lois Murphy. It was a close contest, decided by just 3,000 votes. Gerlach beat the Democratic wave that sank so many other incumbent Republicans because of two reasons. First, he's a good Congressman who has done a good job representing his district. Second, Gerlach's campaign used excerpts from my columns in their newspaper and television advertising and also in direct mailings. I can't tell you how many Democrats, Libertarians and independents approached me to say they saw the commercials and had second thoughts about Gerlach's far left opponent. I'm convinced my endorsement put Gerlach over the top.

One of my favorite political sites,, compiled a list of the Best and Worst Political Campaigns of 2006. At the top of the list is Jim Gerlach for Congress.

Here's what the folks at had to say: "Let's be honest ... Congressman Jim Gerlach ran abysmal campaigns in the last two cycles. This time, Gerlach imported Mark Campbell. Campbell ran an aggressive, mean campaign — the only kind of campaign that might have given Gerlach a shot to avoid the strong Democratic tide this year. He is responsible for driving up opponent Lois Murphy's negatives to the point where some in the press even believed she was a lobbyist and plagiarizer. Campbell is the kind of guy you want running your race when everyone thinks you are going to lose. A week before the election, Chuck Todd (National Journal's Hotline editor) said of PA-6, "I'm picking Gerlach. He's run the best race of the cycle."

In some other races, 7 of the 10 legislators I endorsed in Berks County won their races. That's a pretty good batting average. Also, 11 of the 14 legislators running in Chester and Montgomery counties who I supported won their races.

This was a difficult year to be a Republican, but 2008 is right around the corner. George W. Bush will be leaving office and the Democrats won't be able to run against an incumbent president in 2008.

Democrats will also have two years of Congressional votes to defend. I can see the campaign ads already: "Democrat John Doe voted to give himself a pay raise in the past two years. Congresswoman Jane Doe voted with Nancy Pelosi 98 percent of the time."

What goes around comes around in politics and the Democrats will be on the defensive in 2008. They have to defend the most seats. The Democrats sat on their hands over the past two years and offered no solutions to any of the country's problems. Now that they're in the majority, they have to lead.

The GOP will make a strong comeback in 2008, winning back both house of Congress by large majorities and keeping the White House in Republican hands. It doesn't matter who the Republican presidential candidate is. Anybody running against Hillary Clinton will win.

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