I guess Cousin Pookie couldn’t be bothered to vote.
The spinners are in overdrive today on both sides of the aisle. The Republicans are claiming that happy days are here again and that 2009 is a clear indicator that the Republicans will take back the House and Senate in 2010. The Democrats are saying, “Election? Was there an election yesterday? It must have been tiny and insignificant.”
The most important races from a national perspective yesterday were the Gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats had written off Virginia several weeks ago when the handwriting was clearly on the wall, but even they couldn’t have predicted that Republican Bob McDonnell would crush his Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds by a wopping 18%. That’s not just a defeat, that’s the Democrat going down like the Hindenburg. Oh, the humanity of it all.
The spin from the Dems is that Creigh Deeds was a weak candidate who foolishly declined to follow the advice of that oracle of campaign wisdom, Barack Obama. He lost, say the Dems, because he failed to sufficiently embrace Obama.
(Insert eyeroll here.)
But then there’s that pesky New Jersey race. Not only did Jon Corzine embrace Obama, he was seen at several campaign events practically humping the President’s leg. New Jersey is one of the bluest of blue states, and Corzine one of the bluest of blue candidates. The President made several trips to New Jersey to sprinkle some of the same magic he used with the Olympic Committee, and Corzine actually ran attack ads comparing Chris Christie’s policies to those of the Democratic Devil, George W. Bush. If that’s not singing from Obama’s hymnal, I don’t know what is. Corzine offered a full-throated endorsement of all things Barack, and Barack returned the favor.
Far from the squeaker contest envisioned by so many, Chris Christie won by 5%. This in a state that Obama won by something like 17% (going on memory here, so don’t quote me). In New Jersey, for a Democrat to win by 5% it’s a tight contest. For a Republican to win by the same amount, it’s about a 9 on the Richter scale.
The other race that garnered national attention, the special election in District 23 of New York, went to the Democrat. The Dems are trumpeting this as a major victory. Nancy Pelosi is claiming last night was a victory for the Democrats, which makes her the Baghdad Bob of the House of Representatives. But this particular election was at least a moral victory for conservatives. Recall that the Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was an extremely liberal Republican who was handpicked by a star chamber of town officials. She was at least as far to the Left as the Democrat, Bill Owens. The third candidate, the Independent Doug Hoffman, was clearly conservative. He was also, clearly, unknown only one month ago when his poll numbers were in single digits. But in the past month, overcoming idiotic endorsements by Newt Gingrich and the Republican National Committee, the conservative not only caught up to the Republican but forced her out of the race. He lost to the Democrat in the final tally, but the Republican still managed to siphon off about 5% of the vote even though she was no longer running. Put that in perspective: a conservative candidate with no name recognition came from nowhere in one month and beat the liberal Republican and came close to beating the Democrat in the general election. Call it spin if you want, but I’m claiming a moral victory.
Then there are races closer to home. In heavily Democratic Westchester County, New York, County Executive Andy Spano (seeking his fourth term) lost in a stunning upset to conservative Republican Rob Astorino, a loss foreseen by no one. In very liberal Maine, gay marriage was defeated at the polls. In my own hometown, there was a Republican sweep of the local offices, nearly all of which had been held by Democrats.
The Republicans are still a long, long way from reclaiming the House, Senate, and Presidency. Deservedly so, I might add. They have no one to blame for these years in the wilderness except themselves. But last night was a clear shot across the bow for the Democrats in D.C. Blue Dog Democrats in conservative districts will need to seriously think again before hitching their cart to Pelosi’s and Reid’s horse. Even Democrats in marginally Democratic districts will need to reconsider whether or not they want cap-and-trade or continued employment. It’s the “independents” who decide these races, and in both Virginia and New Jersey the independents went two-to-one in favor of the guys promising less government.
During the summer the Administration and the Democrats tried to marginalize the Tea Party movement as a mob of crazies who shouldn’t be listened to. Well, folks, can you hear us now?
Hot Air has lessons from Election Night, an Election Recap, and thoughts on the Gay Marriage vote in Maine. Michelle Malkin has an appropriate warning to the Republican establishment about the lessons they should take away from District 23.