A party today, then the work ahead

The Democrats celebrate Senate control.

Tim Grieve
November 10, 2006 1:41AM (UTC)

Democratic senators are pretty used to standing outside of the Capitol, usually as part of some united-minority protest of whatever the Republicans happen to be doing.

Today is different.

In a raucous, cheering gathering in the Capitol parking lot, Democratic senators celebrated what seemed impossible just weeks ago and at least unlikely midway through election night: The Democrats now control both the House and the Senate for the first time in more than a decade.


George Allen's concession to Jim Webb made it official, but the Democrats were clearly prepared for the good news. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin were all on hand to celebrate this afternoon, and they said that new Democratic senators would be joining them in Washington later today.

George W. Bush met earlier in the day with House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi. Because it took a bit longer for the final outcome in the Senate to become clear, the president will now have to endure the same uncomfortable spectacle a second time around with Reid.

Reid has called Bush a "loser" and a "liar" before -- he's apologized for one of those -- but he seemed more interested in reconciliation today. He vowed that his Senate Democrats wouldn't follow the "very bad example" Republicans set when they controlled the Senate. He said the American people have given Democrats "a chance to prove that we can work with the Republicans."

We'd like to think that they did more than that. Schumer called Tuesday's election a "cry for change" in America, and he said that Democrats have heard it. Once the party ends and the work begins, we'll have a much better sense if he's right.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2006 Elections Chuck Schumer, D-n.y. Harry Reid U.s. Senate War Room

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