What message is sent?
Voters sent a message on election day by their actions, reinforced by comments to pollsters, that they are dissatisfied with the president's course in Iraq.
This dissatisfied voters are not unified in advocating a specific course of action. Democrats who have benefited by the discontent toward Republicans vary in their beliefs from those who would immediately withdraw all U.S. troops to those who would follow a course of action not that dissimilar to what is currently being followed. Most Democrats have not been specific in proposing a policy for Iraq.
The anti-Republican vote also indicates dissatisfaction with the economy, voters seeing tax breaks as pandering to the wealthy at the cost of burdening the general public with outrageous debt while the cost of health care and health insurance continues to spiral out of control.
The Republicans have also been tainted by scandal, accepting improper lobbyist funds. Although some Democrats have also been tainted by the scandal, it remains primarily an image problem for Republicans.
The Foley scandal also created an image problem for Republicans. It may seem unfair to let the activities of one person to taint an entire party but since it has long been common for Republicans to extol their party as being one of "family values," they cannot avoid the backlash of not living up to the image it promotes.