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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 00:39 GMT
US mid-terms panel: Michael DeLaurentis

MEET THE PANEL
Michael DeLaurentis
Name: Michael DeLaurentis
Age: 59
Lives: Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Works: Tax attorney
Voted: Democrat
In 10 words or less:
"My blood pressure has increased during the Bush presidency"

So Rumsfeld has resigned, and not an instant too soon.

The growing calls for his resignation by prominent retired military top brass and a growing number of senior conservatives made his departure all but certain.

But Donald Rumsfeld did not declare this war, President Bush did.

Bush has antagonised so much of his own base that he really now must listen to the people in this country - a bitter pill indeed for him.

He'll likely continue to swagger and talk tough - but the pressure to change course dramatically in Iraq, if not the Middle East generally, will now be overwhelming.

Will the Democrats crow and claim this as the beginning of a new direction? Yes, and with the forthcoming recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, substantial change in Iraq policy will follow, and rightly so.

As for the outcome of the elections themselves, obviously the defeat of senior Republican Rick Santorum by Bob Casey in my state of Pennsylvania was a major bright spot for the Democrats, in a closely watched race.

Santorum was widely detested by Democrats and too many Republicans for his strident, divisive partisanship. However, he was surprisingly gracious in his concession speech.

He may well return as a gubernatorial candidate, and some have mentioned him as a possible Republican nominee for the 2008 presidential race.

US MID-TERMS PANEL
Other huge wins for the Democrats include Rhode Island, Montana, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas.

Clearly some Red [Republican] strongholds are changing colour rapidly and some may bleed blue [Democrat] in 2008.

What does it all mean for both parties? Karl Rove is no longer a genius - going after the 'base' is now an approach that is finished.

Both parties moved further right. Clearly, the vote was pro-Democratic only in the sense that it was anti-Bush and a stinging protest against incompetence, corruption and partisanship.

Congress may begin now to function once more as watchdog of the presidency.

The outcome is a much-needed change to the depressingly rapid deterioration of American constitutional democracy in the last six years.






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