Ed Driscoll

GREAT KID, NOW DON'T GET COCKY

That’s the underlying message to President Bush and the Republicans in John Fund’s latest column:

So while Republicans continue to pop the champagne corks, they would do well to sober up soon. John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, two liberal analysts, have written a response to Mr. Phillips’s 1969 book. It’s called “The Emerging Democratic Majority” [Read Patrick Ruffini’s take on it–Ed], and while Tuesday’s results leave room to question its central thesis, it still makes valuable points. White-collar professionals such as teachers, lawyers, doctors and engineers are trending Democratic, and they are turning formerly conservative strongholds like Phoenix into competitive territory. In 1988, President Bush’s father carried Phoenix’s Maricopa County with 65% of the vote. In 2000, his son won it by two percentage points. This past Tuesday, Republican Matt Salmon carried it by an even smaller margin and the GOP apparently lost a governor’s race in the Grand Canyon State for the first time in 20 years.

As significant a victory as the Republicans have achieved, this is still the closely divided nation that political analyst Michael Barone describes. Republicans again have control of both houses of Congress, but by narrow and potentially precarious margins. Once the celebrations die down, the party would be well advised to focus attention on where it is losing votes as well as where it is gaining them.

I think he’s absolutely right. I’ve been reading volume one of The Age of Reagan for a review in Blogcritics, and Steven F. Hayward does an excellent job of describing in detail the hubris–and it was staggering–of the Democrats of the 1960s, a time when they controlled all three bodies of government.

While Republicans are unlikely to make the same enormous mistakes and overreaching that the Great Society Democrats did, hubris on a grand scale can also alienate a large percentage of the people who are skeptical of both parties–or those who don’t like what the Democrats have become, but don’t yet feel comfortable with conservatism.

The fact that Bush instituted a “no gloating” rule for his staffers is a good first sign that he understands that as well–and bodes well for the next two, and possibly six years of governance by a man consistently underestimated by his critics.

UPDATE: Stephen Green makes a similar point.