After math

Gibbs Cadiz is ready to pop the champagne; he does not even attempt to hide his glee over Dubya’s political troubles. (And which language does "mwahaha" belong to, anyway? Swahili?) But if former New York Times drama critic Frank Rich can wax trenchantly political, why not our own drama critic?

I’ve tried to keep track of election results throughout the day, even while finishing a slide presentation in the morning, taking part in a spirited discussion over lunch, or closing five pages of Compact in the late afternoon and early evening. (I had a fun time in the newsroom, by the way, because I closed the Sports section for the first time; I thought it was time I tried my hand at it. My main story: "Django rides off into the sunset.")

I am impressed with CNN’s depth of coverage and the general gee-whizzery of it all; this post from Lost Remote (the essential blog for those who keep track of TV and technology) only deepened my appreciation. (This post, too.)

I also read the New York Times online as much as I could (I guess like Deannie Bocobo, although we may have had, ah, a different appreciation of the election results). Quick reads: I thought Hillary Clinton had the most impressive victory among all Democratic Senators, but I forgot Ted Kennedy was running for his umpteenth reelection too. (Go ahead, click on the last link; it leads to the Times’ interactive map.)

On the most basic level, I think the 2006 mid-term elections proved democracy’s basic appeal: Elections are the way to "throw the rascals out." That is to say, all politicians are accountable, and must be held accountable, primarily through electoral exercises. Bush junior, it seems, had forgotten that simple truth.

But what I am most interested in is another possible meaning of the election results: Politicians must always be weighed on the electoral scale, every now and then. But political philosophy? Ideologies? Are elections the right measure for validating, confirming the value of, say, this whole approach to governance called neoconservatism? Is political theory principally tested at the polls, or in the give and take of Holmes’ marketplace of ideas?

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