From the November 8, 2006 Washington Post's front-page analysis of the November 7, 2006 election results:
...Democrats [will be challenged] to make the leap from angry opposition to partners in power. How far the balance shifts to the left remains to be seen. The passion of the antiwar movement helped propel party activists in this election year, and the House leadership under the likely new speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), hails from the party's liberal wing. But the Democrats' victory was built on the back of more centrist candidates seizing Republican-leaning districts, and Pelosi emphasized that she will try to lead without becoming the ideological mirror of Gingrich....No doubt about it, the Republican Party got spanked yesterday. But come the national elections of 2008, the Dems may themselves get spanked, so they had best not take yesterday's election results as a long-term mandate from the voters for the Democratic Party. Even the Washington Post is striking a note of caution.
"It's not an affirmation of a Democratic agenda; I think that's clear, because they didn't offer one," said John Weaver, a strategist for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "It's about how we as Republicans set aside our principles to try to stay in power. We decided to try to spend money like Democrats, we decided not to reform or tackle big issues. And at the end of the day, the American voters said, 'Enough is enough.' "
The complexion of the Democratic presence in Congress will change as well. Party politics will be shaped by the resurgence of "Blue Dog" Democrats, who come mainly from the South and from rural districts in the Midwest and often vote like Republicans. Top Democrats such as Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) see these middle-of-the-road lawmakers as the future of the party in a nation that leans slightly right of center....