In the end, it was moral values that determined the national election Tuesday, or at least that's the read from the national pundits who follow such things. The economy, the war in Iraq and terrorism were all factors. But it was the bedrock division of moral values that ultimately decided the outcome.
In many ways, I feel sorry for those who were not engrossed with the election returns throughout the night. The electoral process is truly democracy in action and it was fascinating to watch it unfold across the nation.
Let's remember one thing also. The exit polls were wrong and most of the political pundits were wrong too. The much-anticipated legal battles that were promised to follow today apparently evaporated in a fairly organized election. Maybe we should have all had more faith in the system than we had.
I most certainly can't add anything to the political discussion today that hasn't been offered by others before. But the one observation that comes through crystal-clear is a likely revamp of the Democratic party. On the state and local levels in many areas, the Democrats are indeed alive and well. Scott County, for example, voted strongly Republican on the national and state level. But when it came down to county offices, it was straight Democratic by a fairly good margin in all cases. That bodes a weakness among Democrats above the county level.
Even my staunch yellow-dog Democratic friends must acknowledge that the national Democratic party no longer represents the fundamental values of most Americans. The Democratic party has either allowed or encouraged the left fringes of political thinking to take over their party. And Tuesday clearly proved that approach cannot succeed across the nation.
In the days, weeks and months ahead, those far more knowledgeable in politics than myself will analyze Tuesday's outcome and plot a new direction. Terrorism, Iraq and the economy will still dominate the news. But it's those hidden moral values that will remain as the stark difference among the American electorate.
It's not the time to talk of winners and losers. It's the time to celebrate the success of democracy. For all of the blemishes, it's the best system on the face of this planet and perhaps on Tuesday, we showed the world just how important this process truly is.
We may have witnessed an end to an era of liberal Democratic party politics. But it's far too early to put a nail in any coffin or crown any new political model.
The challenge now is to bring some level of cooperation on the national scene that will advance the agenda that benefits the most Americans. Let's hope that happens and happens fast.