Long exhale. And now -- where to begin? At least now, I'll allow myself to get my hopes up.
One thing yesterday's election showed is that Democrats are a closer reflection of America than the Republicans. The Republicans value walking in lock-step, follow-the-fearless-leader style. Which showed even in their criticism of Democrats during the campaign: they kept saying that Democrats as a group had no coherent plan for Iraq.
Actually, the Democrats have several coherent plans for Iraq, some I tend to agree with more than others, but as a party, the Democrats aren't likely to impose a single plan for all party members to salute. They will discuss it publicly, disagree vehemently, come to consensus slowly.
And, you'll notice, that's not unlike the way America reaches decisions, as well.
More in the future, of course, but for now, I do think it feels as if America won finally. Tom and I were just discussing a very interesting, Machiavellian possibility. Everyone had talked about Joe Lieberman as a potential Bush replacement for Rumsfeld. Which didn't happen, thank goodness. (Because, although elected as an independent, he says he'll caucus with the Democrats. And if he leaves the Senate, re-elected Governor Jodi Rell (R-CT) would appoint a Republican.)
But even more interestingly, as Tom pointed out: Rumsfeld was, it seems, kept onboard this long because Cheney wanted him there. So who knows what dynamics are going on there. But if Cheney also decides to resign (unlike the Cabinet members, Bush can't fire him even if he wanted to, because Cheney was actually elected, too), what if Bush decided to nominate Joe Lieberman as vice president? How bizarre would that be?
For one thing, it would put the Senate back at a 50/50 split -- with someone who was actually elected as an "independent" in the tie-breaker role.
Now, I'm not saying I want this to happen -- I wouldn't have voted for him if I were a Connecticutian -- except for the history-making of it. Although, come to think of it, Lieberman would at least shift the balance of the vice presidency back toward "presidency" and away from "vice," in contrast to the current officeholder.
Lieberman ran for the job six years ago and won -- the popular vote, at any rate. By nominating him as VP, there'd actually be some kind of historical justice. (If Bush could somehow resign and leave Al Gore in his place, that would be actual justice, of course.)
Bush could ensure that he had a Senate that, along party lines at least, would support the prosecution of the Iraq war. And we would have the first woman (and Californian) as Speaker of the House, the first Jew as the vice president, and the first, well, chimp as president. The images from the podium during the State of the Union address would almost alone be worth it.
Our top three officeholders in the U.S. would themselves be almost as diverse as James Watt's Interior Department! (And if you don't remember that reference, I'm just too old to be blogging. Or else you're too young to have a valid opinion about politics. We'll call it a draw.)
Because, in this scenario, Lieberman would be the tie-breaker, so he'd still be working most days in the Senate. And -- unlike some of Bush's upcoming judge nominees, I'll warrant (another term Republicans no longer seem to like) -- Lieberman would likely be confirmed to the office easily. Because confirmation is the responsibility of his friends, on both sides of the aisle ... in the United States Senate.