I was just watching Anderson Cooper's analysis of the press conference that Dubya gave earlier today. There was a discussion of how Bush would handle this electoral defeat. Would he reach out? Would he dig in, ready for a fight? My first thought was: "well, that's simple, last time he was beaten in an election, he..."
Then it hit me. George W. Bush has never experienced decisive electoral defeat. He won two elections as governor of Texas, one election for President, and tied the other (winning in penalty kicks, as it were). He gained seats in the 2002 midterms. I don't know about his performance in the 1996 Texas legislative midterms, so I guess I can't say "never", but I don't know that voters have ever expressed their disapproval so resoundingly.
It will be interesting to see how Bush responds. Will he be chastened by the experience and remember the importance of including everyone in the decision-making process? Will he continue his scorched-earth policymaking strategy, this time from the minority - becoming the "obstructionist" that he often reviled Democrats for being? How will Bush work with a group of people who he has been comparing to terrorists for the past six years? In short, given his bridge-burning electoral style, what does Bush look like in defeat? I guess we're about to find out.
And double kudos to anyone who can pick up on the double-reference in the post title.