In a Champagne Mood
Tyrrell, R. Emmett, Jr., The American Spectator
All right, so my sanguine commentary on Campaign 2002 has been proved wrong. "My hunch," I mistakenly wrote two weeks before Election Day, "is that enough seats will actually go to the Republicans to give them a one-seat majority in the Senate." My mistake-Republicans now have a two-seat Senate majority, and possibly will pick up another in Louisiana's December runoff. So here I am before you, eating humble pie; but I am washing it down with champagne, Pol Roger.
After all, I was right in predicting that President George W. Bush would gain congressional seats. In the past one hundred years the White House's triumph from incumbency has been replicated only three times. All television's gabbing heads the weekend before the election entered into a dirge, predicting Republican losses and a Democratic majority in the Senate. Only Larry Kudlow, writing in the Washington Times (the Good Times), shared my optimism-hats off, Larry.
I think I was also right in October when I laid down my reasons for a forthcoming Bush victory. Various ominous events have put the American voter in a vigilant mood. We suffered a vile terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. It reminded the citizenry of prior attacks Americans suffered beyond our shores in the 1990s, attacks that the government treated lightly. Saddam's truculence, North Korea's cavalier rebuilding of its nuclear weapons program, and the brutal Washington sniper attacks intensified Americans' growing sense of vigilance. On Election Day they put their trust in a president who has demonstrated the will to more than "wag the dog."
Equally consequential in Campaign 2002 was the president's gentlemanly tone. He really was serious when he came to Washington promising to "change the tone," and the American people favor the change. As Robert L. Bartley, editor of the Wall Street Journal, remarked apres the vote, "The big story is that voters have in a big way repudiated the McAuliffe-Carville-- Clinton smash-mouth politics. …