What it will likely mean is a redrawing of strategy to concentrate on forcing the reluctant Iraqi government to govern, and on curtailing our involvement enough to signal Iraqis and Americans that our presence there isn't open-ended.
Did President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and others have blinders on when shown the public opinion polls that indicated the Republicans were about to get skunked in the elections? Who knows?
What can be known is the certainty that both President Bushes -- 41 and 43 -- gained before the election that something with American foreign policy had to give, and soon.
What "gave" was the roof on the Republican House and possibly the Senate, as well as the one over Don Rumsfeld's head.
What might have been gained is the critical insight that America can leave Iraq sooner rather than later, and without leaving it completely naked to face an enemy clothed by Iran.
Now the question looms: If exiting Iraq is possible now, wasn't it also possible months ago, when the GOP's political grave hadn't yet been dug?
As crucial as that question is, it's only a rhetorical one now. More to the point, it's now plain that the elders of the Bush dynasty have stuck their boots in the muck created by the current president's commitment in Iraq. They want to end George W. Bush's Vietnam, not by giving in, but by reducing America's role and, by that, soon ending American casualties.
Rumsfeld was about brawn. Gates is about brains. Considering Tuesday's elections, a little more gray matter might be in order to fix what's the matter in Iraq.