Democrats stop celebrating, and Republicans, don't despair. I know the Democrats won the recent election on paper, but in the long run the Republicans just might be the big winners of Election 2006.
In fact, I think the Republicans set the whole thing up so the Democrats could fail over the next two years, which will bring about a big Republican presidential win in 2008.
What other explanation is there? I mean, do you think that Karl Rove and the rest of the Republican brain trust suddenly got stupid? I don't think so.
Iraq looks like a no-win situation. And who knows this better than the current Administration? So, they're turning over the mess to the Democrats saying, "Here. If you think you're so smart, you fix it." And when the 2008 election comes around and we haven't gotten out of Iraq as easily as everyone hoped, who's going to be blamed: The Democratic majority.
Accountability And Revenge
Everyone is waiting to see how vigorously the Democrats will try to make the Republicans accountable for the mistakes that were made in dealing with Katrina and Iraq.
I guess the thinking goes like this: "If they could impeach President Clinton because he lied about his sexual exploits, shouldn't the Republicans be held accountable for lying (or at best, being mistaken or incompetent) about things that led to Americans losing their homes or their lives?"
I follow the logic, but this could be a trap set by the Republicans. If there are too many committees, too many accusations, and too many subpoenas, there is bound to be a public backlash. If Republicans are blamed for everything from the war in Iraq, to global warming, to the popularity of "Dancing With The Stars," Democrats will look like sore winners.
If the Democrats investigate other things — corruption and general sleaziness — they risk turning up evidence against themselves as well. On the other hand, if they don't try to put a stop to all the greed and sleaze in Congress, those who voted for them will feel betrayed. Is this another no-win situation engineered by the Republicans?
The Rumsfeld Factor
When I first heard that President Bush was firing — I mean, "accepting the resignation of" — Secretary Rumsfeld, I thought this meant the President was resigning, too. After all, a week before the election, President Bush assured us that Secretary Rumsfeld would continue in his position for as long as Bush was President. But people were so happy to see Rumsfeld go, that nobody made that big of a deal about the President's little fib.
Bush wanted to get rid of Rumsfeld for quite a while, but he couldn't just fire him after making so many statements supporting him. But after the election, the president could say that he was responding to the electorate since "the people have spoken." Score a big one for the Republicans.
Bringing In Daddy's Guys
And who did the president name as Rumsfeld's replacement? Robert Gates, the guy who was the head of the CIA during the first President Bush's administration. And who was brought in to help with Iraq policy? James A. Baker III, a good friend of President Bush I and his Secretary of State.
Baker last surfaced during the Florida recount in 2000, representing the Republican interests. If he could help pull off that victory, maybe some of his mojo can help end the war in Iraq. This might even be easier than 2000 — he won't have to worry about annoying things like election laws and "obstructionist" Supreme Court justices.
Other friends and associates of the elder Bush will be helping out, too. But I don't think this is just a case of a father bailing out a son. I think this is all part of a calculated grand scheme by the Grand Old Party to do whatever's necessary to keep the White House in 2008.
So, who do they plan on running for President in 2008? Let's see. Who's comfortable with all these friends and advisors of the first George Bush? Who has experience in waging war against Iraq? And who could become president without saying one negative word about the current president? There's only one man who fits this bill. That's right — George Herbert Walker Bush.
Why not? The President's dad served only one term, so constitutionally he's still eligible. And do you honestly think this scenario is any more far-fetched than some of the things we're going to see in politics over the next two years?
E-mail your questions and comments to Lloyd Garver
Lloyd Garver writes a weekly column for SportsLine.com. He has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.
By Lloyd Garver