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A good night for the GOP

Post by Michael Allen on Nov. 3, 2009 at 10:50 pm with 4 Comments »
November 4, 2009 11:53 am

If you watch MSNBC or listen to “progressive” talk radio, you’re going to be hearing a lot about “New York 23″ for the next month. New York District 23 has elected a Republican Congressman for nearly 100 years in a row, but now it’s Blue. In last night’s off-year elections, Democrats took advantage of GOP chaos (the GOP candidate withdrew) to add one more vote to their ample congressional majority. Winning New York 23 is truly a feather in the Democrats’ cap. 

But then there were the Virginia and New Jersey elections.

Virginia is a state we have been told is “trending Blue” (because Obama won it for the Democrats last year). But last night, GOP candidate Bob O’Donnell won the Virginia governorship by a whopping 59 percent of the popular vote. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, one of the bluest of Blue States, Republican Chris Christie defeated incumbent Gov. John Corzine by 4 percent. The last time a Republican won high office in New Jersey was 1993, one year before the GOP recaptured the House for the first time since 1952.

In politics, for every action there is a reaction. The Republicans have had a pretty rough time for the last five years, but last night was a good night for the GOP.

It would be a mistake to read too much into two victories, but I will hazard a prediction. Right now, there are nearly 50 “Blue Dog” – moderate to conservative – Democrats in the House of Representatives, and a half dozen in the Senate, who are studying last night’s election results very closely. They are weighing whether or not to risk their political careers by voting in favor of President Obama’s health care and “climate control” bills. Last night’s results do not show much support out there for the Democrat agenda. 

The Democrats have a 70-vote majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Yet somehow they cannot figure out how to pass these two bills. The announced deadlines for passage of Obamacare and cap and trade keep getting pushed farther and farther away. The 2010 Congressional elections are now only a year away. The time has come. The president, Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi had better shove these bills through Congress before Christmas, or they will not get another chance.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. Justsayin says:

    Roughly 38% of voters will vote for a “D” no matter what. Roughly 38% will vote for a “R” no matter what. It is the 24% that vote for leaders who are not on the far side of either isle that sway elections. Why can’t President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid (and Murray for that matter), see that they must lead from the center. I don’t see the President getting a second term if he’s not going to follow President Clinton’s example, and he could lose both houses next year. Republicans that won’t budge on non-issues like abortion have the same problem.

  2. DavidS_ says:

    A good night for R’s in VA and the new governor of NJ, not for the GOP. While the Republicans at the top of the ticket did well in the only two governor’s races in the Country, this was not due to the strength of the GOP brand.

    In VA the Democratic candidate ran away from the Democratic Party. He bashed cap & trade, health insurance reform and any other D priority he could think of. As a result D’s didn’t come out and he got blown out. (In an off-year election like this in a purple state, I doubt he would have won regardless.)

    In NJ there were issues of corruption and extreme concern about the state’s economy (it is a suburb of NYC after all). Regardless of party, the sitting governor was done months ago. When you look at more than the headline results, you start to see that the GOP was only able to gain one seat in the general assembly despite ousting the governor. This implies that people were fed up with Corzine, not the Ds.

    While winning NY-23 may be considered a win for the D’s it simply pads an ample majority in a district likely lost in the next election. (This was the first year in decades that the D passed 40% of the vote, let alone won. The chance of it happening again is slim.) If there was a win for the D’s it was that the R’s made clear that they do not want moderates as part of their party, but that was before the election.

    The idea of this being a referendum on President Obama – or his policies – is just plain wrong. CNN polled that actual question. While full poll data has not been released, 60% in NJ and 56% in VA said the president was not a factor in their vote – positive or negative. (The Washington Post found similar results in their poll last week as well as the fact that 95% of people in VA who voted for Obama in 2008 approve of the job he’s doing.)

    It’s also important to note that despite these GOP wins, the number of self-identifying R’s (& D’s) nationally has been dropping in recent months. The current percent of R’s is down 5 points to 20% since it’s high in March according to ABC’s tracking poll. (The D’s have fallen 3 points from their high to 33% over the same period.) This is important as the R’s (& D’s) start to form a national image for elections next year.

    All three of these elections had special dynamics that lead to their result. They were not nationalized elections despite how much those of us who are junkies wished everyone paid as much attention as we do. “It WOULD be a mistake to read too much into [these races],” so please don’t try. Instead recognize that to win (R or D) you need good candidates who can represent their party AND the electorate they want to represent.

  3. Hoodsportwriter says:

    You apparently don’t know anymore about the issues in New Jersey and Virginia than David Lightman (McClatchy). The “Democrat” running in Virginia only got thru the primary because two more liberal Democrats did each other in. I have seen his platform…as a Democrat I wouldn’t have voted for the guy. In New Jersey I would have had to hold my nose to vote for a corporate Democrat. These two reflect nothing but Tip O’Neils old saying – “All politics are local.”

    Next Lightman quotes only “Blue Dog” Democrats from the most rural and under populated part of the country and fails to be aware the 3 Congressional seats open yesterday were all won by Democrats. One a seat not held by a Democrat since the Civil War and the other a progressive replacing a “moderate”…”Blue Dogs” are not the future of the Democratic Party!

    Bad analysis all around! McClatchy show get their “ace” reporters to know something about politics before they write about it.

  4. papasan says:

    A Republican discussing Democratic politics is kind of like having Oprah Winfrey discuss bridge design.
    Oh, she may have the basics down OK, but I wouldn’t trust her to span the Narrows.

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