Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The 2009 Elections

Well, here we are after the great Tea Party "referendums" on President Obama.

Or not.

It looked to me to be a push. There were things for the Republicans to celebrate and there were things for Democrats too. What it never was, according to various state exit polling, was a vote up or down on Mr. Obama. Even where Republicans won, exit polling showed that Mr. Obama was little to no influence on the voters.

Let's take a look at the results, shall we?

In Virginia, it looks more and more like the Democrat - Creigh Deeds - screwed the pooch big time when he decided to run against, then with, the President. He ran ads against health care reform, cap and trade...very Republican Lite stuff sure to excite the Democrats in VA to vote for him. *cough* Then when that approach wasn't working out he called out for Obama for help, too late. He went down hard and took several state Democrats down ticket with him.

In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine looked to be having him some Gray Davis-itis. (Gray Davis was the Democratic governor of California who was recalled with now-Gov. Schwarzenegger replacing him). What is Davis-itis, you ask? Well, what helped along the Davis recall in CA was the fact that the guy wasn't very well liked, even among Democrats. Word is that Corzine wasn't very well liked in New Jersey either and Democrats weren't real enthused about giving him another term. Both had reputations of being kind of nasty folks to be around and in Corzine's case, add in the factor of a independent candidate appealing to those unenthused Democrats and down he went too. The good news out of this is that he didn't take many with him - Democrats were able to hold on to their majorities in the state legislature.

Add the historical factor that both states have a habit of making their Governor a member of the opposing party to the President, and you have a HUGE WIN FOR THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT!!

Ummm....not so much. Governor's races are state races, not national ones. Definitely local issues rule with them. About the only time that a Governor's race makes any difference nationally is when someone new is elected Governor of California (because of the state's size and economic clout - well, pre-GOP that is - they are usually "mentioned" as a possible Presidential candidate in the future).

Republican wins to be sure, but about Obama? No.

OK, let's look at a couple of races that could have had something to do with the current President.

There were two special elections to fill seats formerly held by Republicans, one in New York and one in California. The New York one got the most attention - mainly because the news media could cover it with little travel time, it had been a GOP district since the 1800s, and the candidate who got the most out-of-state money (95% of his campaign war chest came from outside of New York) and endorsements was not the Republican. The candidate the tea party-ers and luminaries such as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey was pushing so hard was a member of the New York Conservative Party.

I'm not all that familiar with New York politics, but I do recall that the chance of a member of one of the NY minor parties winning an election was not unheard of. In 1970, William F. Buckley's brother James was elected to the US Senate on the Conservative Party ticket and served one term (brother Bill tried unsuccessfully to be elected to the Senate too as well as Mayor of New York). However, James Buckley did not get national Republicans to help out his campaign.

The Conservative Party candidate for the House in upper New York state's district 23 was going to be where the tea party, birther and hard right of the conservative movement was going to show both President Obama and the leadership of the GOP a thing or two. Make no mistake, their candidate was definitely one of them too. The actual Republican in the race had seen her support dwindle away so she withdrew her candidacy. The Hitler=Obama sign waving, "socialism" in the health care bill opposing far right was going to show their strength with this one.

Then a funny thing happened. The Democrat won. This hadn't happened in that district since the days of the cotton gin.

This election was supposed to show the nation that the tea party movement wasn't just some angry-at-something wingnuts getting together to vent over losing in 2008. It was supposed to show that the demonstrators were a REAL MOVEMENT, reflecting the secret majority just waiting to toss out that Socialist Fascist non-white Commie in the White House right out the door after being magically fooled into voting for him last year. THIS WAS THE WAKE-UP CALL!!

Oops. Guess not.

Out in California, another traditional Republican district went (D) as well. That race certainly didn't have as much drama to it, but it flipped nonetheless.

Oops again, teabaggers.

So, to recap:

The Republican right won in two Governor's races that have little to no impact nationally.

The Democrats won the two races for House seats that gives them an even bigger majority in Congress.

And Barack Obama is still President of the United States with a majority of Americans giving him thumbs up on most of the job he's been doing.

Bottom line: Not a great night for anybody, but definitely a bad night for the teabaggers.

I can live with that.

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