The Morning After

The conclusion to my awkwardly timed Election Day column:

Bush can stay the course right up through January 2009. He won't be on the ballot again, and unlike most recent presidents he's not angling to put his vice president into the White House. To be sure, if Bush persists no matter how unpopular his policies become, this will set Democrats up nicely for 2008. Republican presidential contenders will find themselves mired in infighting as many abandon the president in order to stay viable for the general election. Others will attempt to inspire the base by sticking with Bush, only to tar themselves in the eyes of moderates and independents. If I were Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or whomever else, I'd look at it as a very promising situation.

What this won't do, however, is improve the situation in Iraq. We seem doomed, one way or another, to at least two more years of futile fighting there. Two more years of wasted money, wasted lives, and perhaps most of all wasted time -- time that could have been used to start the hard work of putting America's foreign policy back together again. Time we can't really afford to spare. It's a horrible scenario. Indeed, it's a scenario that is poised to inspire Americans to vote in drove for the Democrats today. What it isn't is a scenario a Democratic win will help us avoid.

I think Suzanne Nossel has good morning-after advice to go along with my gloom-and-doom.