End of midterms
So it’s all over bar the shouting – the US midterms have transformed politics in Washington, and President Bush must add a new phrase to his political vocabulary – bipartisan cooperation.
The BBC’s team in Washington, winding down after a week surviving on black coffee and adrenalin, are taking stock of the new landscape. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the new stars of Washington’s political constellation. It remains to be seen just how well soon-to-be House Speaker Pelosi and the presumed Senate Majority Leader Reid will work with President Bush.
But what next? The departure of Donald Rumsfeld puts the spotlight back on the President’s Iraq policy and how it might change. The independent Iraq Study Group has been charged with finding new ideas – it’s expected to report in early December. New ideas are urgently needed.
The long thinkers are already looking to 2008 and which political figures have burnished their presidential ambitions during the midterm campaign. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is still the odds-on favourite to take her party’s nomination, although Barack Obama is a long bet.
The picture is far less clear on the Republican side -- it’s much easier to point to White House hopefuls who have crashed and burned in recent months. So who’s left in the field? Arizona Senator John McCain is still standing, and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has a strong following.
The next two years will be fascinating. Any viewers, listeners or readers who might wonder why the BBC has devoted such energy and time this week to reports from the US, need only consider how wide the implications of this week's events might be - not just the US, but Iraq, the wider Middle East, the UK - and perhaps even the premiership of Tony Blair.