The Note: The New New Normal


What to look for next:

Whether, as some predict, President Bush and Speaker-Presumptive Pelosi turn out to like each other, or whether he thinks of her as the head of a "Democrat" Party that is deluded, liberal, and out-of--touch-and-out-of-its-mind, and she thinks he is everything her daughter-with-child always told her he is.

The 25-dimensional chess that the would-be 2008 presidential candidates are playing in determining the timing and sequencing of their pre-announcement announcements.

The hideousness of the House Republican leadership battles (compared to the uncharacteristically less-hideous -- but still hideous -- House Democrat fights).

If Harry Reid stops calling President Bush a liar (and if Yucca is dead).

Who breaks the 41-43-Cheney-Baker Code of Silence for a weekend tick tock about What Really Happened. (Place your bets on Mike Allen, David Sanger, or Tom DeFrank.)

How smartly do the newly elected House and Senate Democrats follow the Hillary Clinton Model of Listening-Tours-constituent-service-monster-fundraising-bipartisan-legislating to lock in their 2008 and 2012 re-elections?

The future of earmarking.

How many Republican Senators go up to Harry Reid and tell him that they have always cherished the bipartisan comity of the World's Most Deliberative Body, and they thought it was unfortunate and unseemly the way Sen/Dr/Leader Frist ran roughshod over tradition for partisan gain.

Whether Secretary Rumsfeld is mad enough to give an interview. (Paging Mark Mazzetti.)

Whether Sen. Warner presides over Gates confirmation hearings in the lame-duck session.

Whose lawyers are busier, Henry Waxman's or the White House's.

A spate of stories about how Democrats taking over is good for Republican lobbyists. (The fear factor.)

How long it takes the Bush White House to say, "We extended a hand, but they didn't reach back."

As for the last midterm piece of pending business of Note: "Sen. Allen does not want to drag this out. At the conclusion of the recanvassing, Sen. Allen is going to make remarks," a senior adviser who has spoken with Sen. George Allen tells ABC News' Teddy Davis.

The precise location for the remarks is TBD. Allen's campaign believes roughly 50% of the canvass is thought to be complete at this writing.

The Allen adviser believes that Sen. Allen's comments could come "mid to late afternoon."

Be on the lookout for a likely Northern Virginia Webb press conference today as well.

President Bush participated in a breakfast with bicameral Republican leadership at 7:00 am ET in Washington, DC. Mr. Bush meets with his Cabinet at 10:35 am ET (pool coverage at bottom with a likely opportunity for a question or two).

He then has lunch with the Democratic House of Representatives leadership at 12:00 pm ET. ABC News is determined to be the first to report the (real) menu.

White House press secretary Tony Snow briefs at 12:00 pm ET.

DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer (D-NY) thanks the staff of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for its efforts during the 2006 campaign at 11:00 am ET in the Mott House Conference Room. The Mott House is located at 122 Maryland Ave NE -- adjacent to the DSCC headquarters. This is open to still cameras only.

At 2:30 pm ET, Sens. Reid (D-NV), Durbin (D-IL), and Schumer (D-NY) hold a 2:30 pm ET ET press conference at the Senate Swamp to declare victory.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is scheduled to deliver a lecture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS today at 12:08pm ET. Rumsfeld's 19-minute speech will focus on the Cold War. At 2:00 pm ET, Rumsfeld will make brief remarks at a building dedication in honor of former Joint Chief Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, a KSU alumnus, and then he will visit the Eisenhower Library (3pm ET - closed). Afterwards he will visit Ft. Riley's First Division Brigade at 4:30pm ET.

Current House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), who announced yesterday he is running for minority whip, will deliver a major policy address at 2:00 pm ET in the Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium on the future of conservatism, where he'll call on Republicans "to start acting like Republicans again" and lay out a strategy for a GOP House takeover in 2008.

Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps presents a major post-election poll at 1:00 pm ET at the National Press Club.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) speaks at the Alabama Policy Institute in Birmingham, AL at 9:00 pm ET.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) meets with the 50 Camp Bayh staffers in Washington, DC. These are the staffers paid for through Bayh's PAC that were dispatched into key states to help achieve Democratic victories in the midterm.

The New Democrat Movement holds a forum with Peter Brodnitz, the pollster and advisor to Jim Webb (D-VA) and Rep. Harold Ford, Jr (D-TN).; Tom Matzzie,'s Washington director; and Tom Schaller, author of "Whistling Past Dixie" at 10:00 am ET in Washington, D.C.

Morning shows:

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Claire Shipman wrapped these extraordinary times in Washington with the exit of "an unusually demurred Donald Rumsfeld" and the entrance of a Speaker-to-be-Pelosi.

George Stephanopoulos reported that "Sen. Allen is likely to concede, if not today, by the end of the week." Stephanopoulos then looked ahead to three policy areas that are likely to be affected by the Democratic takeover of the Hill.

1. The minimum wage is going to go up.

2. Immigration reform is more likely with a Democratic Congress.

3. On judges "Unless [President Bush] nominates someone completely different from his past two choices," he will not get a Supreme Court nominee through the confirmation process.

When White House counselor Dan Bartlett was asked by NBC's Matt Lauer if the White House was operating under the assumption that Webb had won in Virginia, Bartlett carefully sidestepped the question, saying that the people of Virginia and Sen. Allen would sort that out.

On CBS' "Early Show," Bartlett was asked what is on the menu for the President's lunch with Leader Pelosi. "For the president, it's probably a little bit of crow," he quipped.

Rumsfeld departs:

Bob Novak writes, that no one really knows what Bob Gates thinks on Iraq, but the door is open to close the gap with Congress, the State Department, and the military. LINK

The Washington Post's David Ignatius writes that Gates "represents the return of Bush 41 people and ideas to the Bush 43 administration." LINK

"Now come two decisive questions," write the Wall Street Journal's King, Dreazen, and Jaffe: "Can Democrats agree on a unified approach for pulling U.S. troops out? And will Mr. Bush show willingness to weigh those ideas, which he has dismissed for months on the grounds that they would essentially hand victory to the terrorists? Mr. Bush's appointment of Robert Gates . . . signaled to some that the president might be open to changes."

Any news organization worth its salt knows: it is ALL about the Baker report, and the series of kabuki dances that come after its release.

2006: analysis:

The New York Times' Nagourney/Rutenberg/Zeleny opus is a must-read full of smart What It All Means analysis (read: an unpopular war) and Republican and Democratic campaign strategy unfolded. It also includes great nuggets about when Rove knew the House was likely to flip Democratic, Rahm Emanuel's initial response to Jack Murtha's November 2005 call for withdrawal of troops, President Bush's last-minute addition to his Wednesday call sheet, and lots and lots of credit for the Schumer/Emanuel dynamic duo. LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Grunwald reports: "By day's end, Republican fingers had pointed at every conceivable Republican scapegoat: ex-representative Mark Foley of Florida and his scandal-plagued colleagues, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, presidential adviser Karl Rove, even Sen. John McCain of Arizona." LINK

The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza Note that Democrats won big Tuesday by "undoing GOP gains among Catholics, married mothers, and Latinos." LINK

The Washington Post's George Will sees three reasons for conservatives to "temper their despondency": "First, they were punished not for pursuing but for forgetting conservatism. Second, they admire market rationality, and they political market has worked. Third, on various important fronts, conservatism continued its advance Tuesday." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board writes: "All told, the Republicans deserved the electoral drubbing they received. Democrats will now have to prove they deserved the majority that GOP failure has handed them."

Roll Call's Morton Kondracke writes that the Democratic takeover was a "rebuke not just to President Bush and Congressional Republicans but to radio talk-show hosts and other right-wing polarizers."

Some facts and figures courtesy of the DSCC.

- Tuesday's victories brought Democratic congressional gains to the highest level since the post-Watergate election in 1974.

- 2006 represents the largest number of GOP Senate incumbents ousted in any election since 1986.

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne writes that Democrats "hold power on the basis of a loan of votes from middle-of-the-road Americans who simply could not stomach Bush Republicanism anymore." LINK

The Washington Post's David Broder writes that the Republican Party "paid a heavy price" for Bush and Rove's obduracy. LINK


The Washington Post's Dan Balz describes President Bush as "politically humbled" while adding that it was not clear yesterday whether President Bush and the Democrats are "genuinely prepared to work together" to produce a change of course in Iraq. LINK

Mike Glover announces Tom Vilsack's intentions:

The AP reports Gov. Vilsack will announce his interest in running for President today. LINK

"'Americans sent a clear message on Tuesday,' Vilsack said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press that will be released Thursday."

"'They want leaders who share their values, understand their needs and respect their intelligence. That's what I've done as governor of Iowa and that's what I intend to do as president.'"

Glover also reports on the Governor's upcoming multi-state announcement tour and gala fundraiser. "Vilsack said he will also announce his candidacy in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada and South Carolina. Vilsack was born in Pittsburgh, and the other states are all important early tests of strength in the nominating process," writes Glover.

"Vilsack said in his statement that he plans a 'Gala Celebration of American Community' in Des Moines on Dec. 2 as his initial fundraising event. He's also opening a campaign headquarters in Des Moines. Iowa's precinct caucuses traditionally launch the nominating season, and Vilsack's first test in his home state will be vital to his presidential hopes."

The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont writes up Gov. Tom Vilsack's run for president in 2008. Per Beaumont, Vilsack says his biggest obstacle to the Oval Office will be his ability to fundraise. LINK

And Register staff writer Lynn Campbell provides some color. LINK


USA Today reports on political Noteables ready to launch their 2008 campaigns. LINK

Democratic agenda:

Leadership elections are scheduled for Thursday November 16.

Susan Miligan of the Boston Globe writes up Speaker-to-be Pelosi, but Notes that some leadership elections may cause divisions within the Democratic Party. LINK

Josephine Hearn of The Hill also looks at the competition for Democratic leadership seats. LINK

The Hill's Elana Schor reports that Senate Minority Leader Henry Reid (D-NV) reached out to Republicans saying "We want to work with them to get things done. We want to be part of a Congress that functions," and commented on the competition for Senate committee leadership. LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper discusses the "conservative spin" on the election in his Political Punch blog. Tapper also flags the race to be House Majority Leader: Will it be Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) or Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)? LINK

GOP agenda:

Leadership elections are scheduled for Friday November 17.

The Hill's Patrick O'Connor writes that Speaker Dennis Hastert decision not to run for minority leader led many GOP lawmakers, such as Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to declare their candidacy. LINK

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times bids adieu to Speaker Hastert from the GOP leadership ranks. LINK

The Washington Times' Charles Hurt quotes Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Republican Whip in line to be Republican Leader, saying: "In the Senate, the minority is never irrelevant unless it falls down into the very small numbers. I don't think, as a practical matter, it's going to make a whole lot of difference in the Senate, being at 49." LINK

Polling potpourri:

In a modern politico-media marketplace, in which striving for rigorous and accurate polling methodology is sometimes considered quaint, it is always nice to remind Note readers that ABC News' Gary Langer (who will be moderating a sure-to-be fascinating discussion with White Ayers and Mark Mellman in New York City today) has got it fully going on when it comes to rigor and accuracy, along with his colleagues at our Washington Post polling partner.

Check out the final ABC/WP poll, as compared to what the exit poll showed on Election Day, as compared to, uhm, some other, final pre-election polls:


Exit poll 45 53

Pre-election polls according to

ABC/Washington Post LV 11/1-4/06 45 51

USA Today/Gallup LV 11/2-5/06 44 51

Time LV 11/1-3/06 40 55

Pew LV 11/1-4/06 43 47

Newsweek LV 11/2-3/06 38 54

CNN LV 11/3-5/06 38 58

CBS/New York Times LV 10/27-31/06 34 52

FOX/Opinion Dynamics LV 11/4-5/06 36 49