But electoral momentum helps too — there is no substitute for winning. Twelve months before the 1994 Republican landslide, Republicans were winning (and Democrats were losing) special Senate elections, special House elections, off-year gubernatorial elections, and mayoral contests. The aura of electoral invincibility which Clinton created vanished in less than a year. It all began in a Georgia runoff election a few weeks after the presidential election.
There is no good way for the Left to play this vote. Saxby Chambliss is a solid conservative with a 95% rating by the American Conservative Union. Jim Martin is a Leftist Democrat. Maybe the big Georgia victory is a small step towards conservatism. It prevents a filibuster-proof Senate, and it is a clear signal to Barack Obama that his “mandate” is more a repudiation of Bush than an endorsement of some vague socialism.
Democrats would also have taken special relish in Chambliss’s defeat. Democrats still harbor their special brand of bitterness over Chambliss’s defeat of Max Cleland in 2002. Kathryn Lopez addresses it in a good column that reminds us what it’s all about. The AP speaks for the Democrats:
Chambliss came to the Senate in 2002 after defeating Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in a campaign that infuriated Democrats. Chambliss ran a TV ad that questioned Cleland’s commitment to national security and flashed a photo of Osama bin Laden. Cleland is a triple amputee wounded in the Vietnam War.
Outside the Democratic Party, I believe this chain of propositions is subsumed under the rubric of non sequitur. Conservatives, Republicans and fans of logic can at the least breathe a sigh of relief over the outcome in Georgia yesterday.