...The exit polls that leaked out in the late afternoon ended up matching the final results almost exactly -- nothing like what happened in those other Bush-era elections. The razor-close races all broke late for the Democrats, unlike Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004...and when that happened, there were no major charges of fraud, no "Brooks Brothers Riot," and no demand for a recount. The last two losers -- Conrad Burns of Montana and George Allen of Virginia -- went quietly into the autumn night, despite relatively close vote tallies. There appear to be no other Rovian stunts, like calling in the GOP's chits with Joe Lieberman to get him to caucus with the Senate Republicans.
And there was no October surprise, not in Iran and not back home.
And we thought most of these things before Bush's makes-no-sense-at-all handling of the Rumsfeld matter. We don't think a pre-election firing of Rumsfeld would have changed many voters' mind, but what if had changed just 1 percent. Burns and Allen (heh) would be returning to the Senate, and the GOP would at least control one house. Likewise, a lot of nailbiters like Rep.-elect Patrick Murphy's win in Bucks County would have gone the other way if Rumsfeld had been canned a week sooner.
All this is a long prelude to our thinking the unthinkable.
Is Karl Rove even more of an evil genuis than we think? Did he and Bush just produce an election flop...on purpose?
It sounds completely off-the-wall, and before this post is over we'll give some good reasons why they wouldn't do that. But we'll also give you a couple of good reasons why life could be better for the Bush White House and the future presidential ambitions of the GOP with the Dems running Congress.
Lukovich/AJC: Okay, One-and-a-HALF States
2 hours ago