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Post Mortem

Why Republicans got shellacked in the midterms.

8:00 AM, Nov 8, 2006 • By FRED BARNES
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But you have to give Rahm Emanuel, the House Democratic campaign chief, credit for recruiting an impressive group of candidates, including a few non-liberals like Brad Ellsworth in Indiana and Heath Shuler in North Carolina. The media, however, is exaggerating the number of these unconventional Democrats. They are a handful, and the pattern of moderate and conservative Democrats when they get to Washington is to pipe down. Or, as losing Republican Congressman Chris Chocola said of his victorious opponent Joe Donnelly, they become "Nancy Pelosi."

Conservatives won't want to hear this, but the Republican who maneuvered his way into the most impressive victory of the election was California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Okay, he's sui generis. But he won a landslide victory after moving to the center, while holding onto conservatives by not hiking taxes. Just think if he were eligible for the White House in 2008. Even (some) conservatives would be clamoring for him to run.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.