George Allen Gone Today -- Back Tomorrow?

| Thu Nov. 9, 2006 1:02 PM PST

As expected, George Allen conceded the Virginia Senate race a moment ago, saying that a recount could drag until Christmas, and out of respect for the people of Virginia, and for the sake of mending divisions in the state, he would not seek a recount. He nodded briefly to the unlikelihood of any change in currently voting results.

The thing that stuck out, from this point of view, was Allen's elaborate tree analogy that came early in the speech that made it sound like he plans to return to Virginia and national politics. He is not a broken branch, he said. He is a strong tree, with deep roots; he will regrow. Or the tree will regrow. Or something.

Just a bit of theorizing: George Allen may be very smart to (almost) promise such a return. The Democrats have a lot of convincing to do if they're going to argue they made in-roads into red state America and now have an expanded (and durable) base of support. What seems much closer to the truth is that an unpopular war, unpopular President, and unpopular Congress all doomed a number of sitting Republicans, and those in the tightest races lost. In six years, Bush will have been out of office for four and Iraq will likely be off the national radar. Republican voters who voted Dem this time around could easily "come home," which sets the stage of George Allen's triumphant return in what is still a conservative state. After all, the guy spent day after day shooting himself in the foot and still just barely lost. Somehow, Virginia loves him.

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