So What Did We Learn From Tuesday’s Election?

Despite the relatively small number of electoral contests, media pundits of every shape and size are trying to come up with the elusive answer to what it means. Many of them are just blowing smoke. However, there ought to be some lessons learned by politicians of every party and ideology. Many of those lessons won’t be trumpeted by the mainstream media, who will be so busy writing President Barack Obama’s political obituary they can’t see the forest for the trees.

The President did make some mistakes for sure.

He spent a great deal of political capital on two uninspiring Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Jon Corzine and Creigh Deeds. The Obama magic didn’t work. Young people and people of color simply didn’t turn out in Virginia or New Jersey, and both crashed to defeat. The President could have spent just a little time in New York City trying to elect Comptroller William Thompson as mayor. His little shout out of an endorsement didn’t even fool Thompson, yet he ran closer to Mayor Michael Bloomberg than anyone expected. Thompson also suffered from a lackluster campaign, but more importantly from a stunning lack of support from unions that ordinarily would back any Democratic candidate.

While the Mayor of New York City won a third term he engineered for himself, the NY-23 race in upstate New York turned out to be a Waterloo for the conservative, birther, tea party wing of the GOP. They threw endorsements around like Frisbees, falling all over each other to sing the praises of Doug Hoffman, the true conservative who vanquished Marxist Republican Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out before a vote was even cast.

And what did Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachman, Fred Thompson, and Rush Limbaugh (did I forget anybody?) get for all their hot air? They elected a Democrat, Bill Owens, the first Democrat to hold the seat in over 100 years. Watch a Democrat win, watch the right wing spin. some of them want people to believe Hoffman’s defeat was actually a victory for them. Witness the writing of Erick  Erickson of the conservative “This is a huge win for conservatives…the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives.” Right, okay. Next?

And finally, there was the district that media forgot, California’s 10th. Like NY-23, there was a special election because the sitting congressperson, Ellen Tauscher, took a post in the Obama Administration. Rep. Tauscher, it should be noted, was part of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party in the House. So who won her seat? Democrat John Garamendi, who couldn’t be more different. He supports the public option, but really wants to see single payer healthcare for all Americans. He also wants US troops out of Afghanistan ASAP. He beat his Republican challenger by 10 points.

So why is nobody outside of California talking about him, and what he means to the national agenda? You tell me.
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6 thoughts on “So What Did We Learn From Tuesday’s Election?”

  1. I think people are smart. Smarter than the pols think, or care. But, people get turned off when there’s no change for the better for regular folks and “hope” dimmed, dropped out.
    (I don’t think dropping out is good, but folks do it.)

    Paul Street, historian, has a sharp, very critical piece, new, on ZNet, a space for people who want substantial change.
    It is about “one year later” – “Perverted Priorities: One Year Later”, by Paul Street, Nov.5, 2009

  2. Is it a coincidence that the vote on the health care bill in the House of Representatives came on the Saturday after Election Day?

    I’m calling the US House Bill a Potemkin Village: fake facade. Dennis Kucinich was on DemocracyNow this morning, and excellent. I voted for him in the Dem. primary for Pres. nominee; mailed my ballot the day before he “dropped out” of the race. Video online, transcript will be up later in the day.

  3. And while I posted my comment on here first (10:44AM), I did forget to say that Jane Hamsher was a guest in the same segment with Dennis Kucinich. Hamsher started and spoke about the bad antichoice amendment stuck in for vote at last minute. She has a piece on her own blog. Recently, she had a blog post about the new legislation just passed, will restrict medication access for some women with some cancer; Hamsher is a breast cancer survivor. How many times can you say “Shame on the Congress and Shame on the White House”? In this instance, it’s about caving in to antiabortion extremists with passing the amendment.

    No, I do not rely on a joint committee to “fix” a bill because too many “fixes” have happened in the past. One “fix” was the alleged/leaked memo from the White House to big pharma that the billl would not hurt them (some weeks ago). “Fixes” happen in the secret joint committee meetings – horse trading. All members of Congress who promise “we’ll fix it in Committee” remind me of something men have been known to promise to women that I cannot say …It’s not too trustworthy. (Actually, there are several.)

  4. In regards to New Jersey…it appears the voters often vote for the opposite of the party occupying the White House. In addition, Corzine was not good for the middle class and he loss that voting block with the toll increases and eliminating the Homestead Rebate.

    I do not believe this election reflects on Obama…it was the candidate. We also remember that Corzine was for Hilary Clinton during the campaign and was critical of Obama. We never forget.

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