DEMOCRATS HAVE THE HOUSE, with a gain of about two dozen seats, and look likely to take the Senate when all the counting is done.

Looks like my pre-mortem was merely a bit ahead of schedule. And I think that this defeat really was the result of a series of unnecessary Republican errors. The GOP leadership needs an overhaul, and I think it will get one.

The Democrats now have a chance to govern, not just carp, and how well they do over the next couple of years will have a lot to do with whether they have a shot at the White House in 2008. Perhaps getting back into power will also encourage a bit of responsibility. We’ll see. If nothing else, the bitterness that comes with losing, and being out of power, is likely to recede a bit. Republicans would be wise not to succumb to a similar bitterness, especially as this defeat could have been avoided if they’d stuck to their principles. Maybe they’ll pay more attention to libertarians, too.

Upside for the GOP: The economy is probably peaking, with record low unemployment, record high Dow averages, and low interest rates. If (when) things go downhill, there’s somebody else to share the blame!