Scattered Victories Portend New Era of Republican Political Dominance … Hah

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Did you hear the big news? Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are BOTH going to host Oscars in 2010.

Oh, and in case you missed it, according to Fox News, the Republicans regained the entire country via an outlandish election in three states on Tuesday.

Tuesday night, November 3rd, several local government and statewide elections were held throughout the country. The cable news networks and political pundits have been portraying this election as a key measure of the Obama Presidency, which is barely a year into office.

What shall we make of this, you ask?

Lets begin with the media:

The media will do anything for ratings, which, as I said in my previous piece on Fox News (remember Fox, not Facts), shows that there really isn’t any news here at all. The Daily Show explains that perfectly in this segment.

The Governors

New Jersey is a largely Democratic state. Virginia in the last few years has moved back and forth, but due to its largely moderate and liberal base in the North, the state has increasingly become Dem leaning. So why would both states elect Republican governors?

Consider this factor, and solely this factor: Anyone remember Gray Davis and the 2003 recall? A Democrat tossed and replaced by a (supposed) Republican in Ah-nold? Cast in point: it’s not Rs vs. Ds. Gubernatorial politics are all local. I stress this because, sure, that principle applies to all politics, but Gubernatorial politics are particularly local. Governors can’t turn to Washington and play the blame game—although they try. Thus, it is almost erroneous to tie the Governor’s race to the President’s policies.

For N.J., I can safely say that Corzine does not necessarily possess the highest of “moral fiber.” After all, he was an incumbent Governor of New Jersey (gee—I wonder why I never win in Atlantic City). Running negative ads that contend your opponent is “too fat to serve” is a perfect example of that.

As for Va., Mr. Deeds—what a horribly run campaign. Mark Warner (now Senator from VA) and Tim Kaine are both Democrats that won in Va. when the state’s voter registration numbers overwhelmingly favored a Republican. But they won because of their personal contact with the voters. Mr. Deeds forgot to run his campaign.

Given that these two Gubernatorial candidates did poorly against their Republican challengers is still really not saying much about the current agenda of President Obama and Congress.

New York Congressional District 23

In the last week before the election, the ecumenical son himself, Rush Limbaugh, and the folksy lady from Alaska (you betcha) Sarah Palin put their backing behind a Conservative Party candidate who valued “traditional Republican principles.” While the leading and likely Republican candidate was eventually forced out of the race (and probably the Republican Party), the Limbaugh/Palin machine’s third-party candidate showed no potential opportunity for overall victory.

Thus, Palin and Rush ironically handed the unlikely Democratic challenger the seat, and this district is now a Democratic gain for the first time since 1993.

The significance here is that the two leading, ultra right wing conservatives drove a wedge between the party’s far right and the party’s centrists. Republicans in this district said, “we’d rather vote for a Democrat than a far-right conservative.” This is a significant statement—but you probably won’t hear that on the news tonight (especially on Fox).

If there is a story about this election, it is this: Governors enforce state policy, not national! But of course the media doesn’t spin it that way, do they? Why not, they love a horse race.

So what does this say about future elections?

Two points:

First are foremost, while the next elections are a year away, the current Congress is in control of the Democrats. Do the left-leaning politicians in the House and Senate modify their agenda? Sure, maybe a tad. Does this scare Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Reid, or President Obama—probably not. After all, they just added one more vote to their ranks!

Second, the 2010 election is a FREAK’N YEAR AWAY. Healthcare, the economy, jobs, etc. are still on the agenda. The stock market is as emotionally stable as a teenager! So, political pundits, please go focus on something else (especially you Fox News). The ’09 Gubernatorials and special elections are not a referendum on anything, but the conditions inside those two states . . . and a Republican Party that still can’t find its way.

By the way, I can’t wait for the Oscars. Martin and Baldwin, what a team. Clearly, we know which story had more long-lasting impact on Tuesday.

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