...but perhaps we can let that pass for now.
Since I always wanted to do a "winners and losers" list, and here's my chance, I plan to take it - in an irreverent Newsweek "CW watch" up and down kind of way:
- Loser - Rick Santorum - Nuff Said. No really.
- Winner - Hillary Clinton - She was the third highest total vote getting (UPDATE: and the highest perecentage - 67% - of the vote getting) Senator of the night, behind Dianne Feinstein and Bill Nelson (and beating Kay Bailey Hutchison). She will be in the majority party and well positioned. Does anybody doubt her next move?
- Winner - Women. See above. Add in Nancy Pelosi's stunning success. Factor in Amy Klobuchar. Consider Debbie Stabenow and Jennifer Granholm cruising to victory. Maria Cantwell. Now tell me again how women can't make it to the top.
- Loser - Black Men. In the end, it's that Michael Steele and Harold Ford lost for pretty much the same reason - the small, possibly shrinking, but still very real effect that some whites will not vote for black people. Lynn Swann and Ken Blackwell totally flamed out. And if you really want to consider an interesting wrinkle, the real lesson of Deval Patrick may be that a black man can beat a white woman, just not a white man. And won't that be an interesting lesson for Barack Obama...
- Loser - Ken Mehlman. Sure, Karl Rove's mystique is dead. But the real flame out this year was Mehlman, who sold off almost every piece of credibility he ever had by defending sure losers and using the most unconscionable tactics to eke out small victories (The anti-Ford "Playboy Party" ad, the robo-calls, the general scare mongering). With the GOP set up to do worse next time, Mehlman will flee, and none to soon.
- Winner - Chuck Schumer. Loser - Liddy Dole. Schumer played it cautious and is now looking like he's won all the marbles, run the table... every bad metaphor. Dole, by contrast, never seemed to get her act together, publicly left candidates in the lurch, and couldn't close the deal when it counted (Corker's win, for better and worse, belongs to Mehlman's team). Now Schumer looks like a genius, and his Chairmanship of Judiciary is a perfect reward.
- Winner - Rahm Emanuel. The go-to guy who delivered.
- Winner - Tom Reynolds. Okay, he was the guy who couldn't deliver, but he expertly played his own losing hand into a winner - apologizing more forthrightly than anyone in the leadership for his Foley failures, and getting a chance to show leadership during Buffalo's freak snowstorm. It's living to fight another day that matters.
- Winner - The Media. The exit polls were basically spot-on, a big improvement. The coverage - especially MSNBC and CNN - was sharp. CNN's use of graphics, and hosts wandering a multiple-use set, made for interesting television even when they were tap-dancing waiting for new results. However...
- Loser - The Media, and Winner - Kirsten Powers. Fox News was emblematic of the refusal to see the obvious, as seat after seat went the way that meant a Democratic wave, and MSNBC did some of this as well. The Washington Post was too cautious by half, nixing it's Cardin call under pressure from Steele when it was clearly over. Meanwhile, Fox has a real dilemma on its hands, and Democrats should exact some very specific revenge, refusing to make key leaders available to Fox unless there's some serious groveling. This is where conservatism will go to hide from reality, and Dems should not give them the opportunity to stir up mischief in the guise of "news reporting." Which, paradoxically, is why Kirsten Powers becomes an all-too-important new star on Fox - she is perfectly positioned to be the "Democratic translator" helpfully explaining why this or that Democrat, while well intentioned, is actually quite wrong on whatever issue is being discussed. She did it late last night, confirming Shep Smith's every worst feeling, with strategic use of "frankly" to explain how pained she was to say that some Democrats "just don't get" the War on Terror. Frankly, I'm more afraid people will think she speaks for all of us.
- Loser - Ned Lamont, and Loser - Joe Lieberman. Lamont, as even he groused semi-privately, was thoroughly played by Schumer, who seems to have clearly let Lieberman take back his seat with no real fight. But the writing was also on the wall in results that left Lieberman barely scratching 50% in many places, largely at the hands of substantial Republican voting. Unless something miraculous happens, the GOP now has to know that there's a Republican who could beat Joe Lieberman. And I bet he knows it, too.
- Winner - All that is Right and Good. Sorry, I couldn't resist. :)