Tag Archives: Virginia

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 RedState.com. “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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Is This a Strange Election Season, or What?

Some notes from Election Season 2009 (in no particular order). President Barack Obama is acting like Tuesday’s gubernatorial election results in Virginia and New Jersey are some type of litmus test for his presidency. Maybe he’s been reading too many desperate newspapers, reading election polls, and watching too many cable talk shows.

President Barack Obama and NJ Governor John Corzine
President Barack Obama and NJ Governor John Corzine

He’s stumped for John Corzine in Jersey and Creigh Deeds in Virginia as if his life depended on it. Published reports say even the widest eyed optimist has given up the ghost for election results in Virginia. Deeds’ opponent, Bob McDonnell, has a double digit lead.

The New Jersey race has been too close to call heading into the home stretch. What makes election coverage of the Garden State race interesting is that in addition to the incumbent Corzine and challenger Chris Christie, there’s a third candidate, Chris Daggett, who could play spoiler.

U.S. Attorney Chris Christie
U.S. Attorney Chris Christie

That possibility led to the most bizarre event in the race so far. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani injected himself into the race, supporting Christie and calling on Daggett to drop out. Daggett told Rudy to butt out of Jersey politics, but it’s interesting to hear the once and future candidate for something (anything!) telling another to follow his example (remember Rudy 2008?), and just give up.

Of course, one could question whether people in New Jersey have any interest at all in what’s going on in Virginia, and vice versa. That would tend to downplay the referendum on Obama theory, except the president seems to be keeping it alive. Oh well…..

The election update across the river in New York City, we’ve got a mayoral race where the incumbent is spending the mind boggling sum of $35,000 bucks an hour trying to win a third term. Mike Bloomberg may well do that, but he’ll forever be dogged by accusations he ignored the public will to run for a third term.

NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg
NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg

His opponent, Bill Thompson, is trailing in the polls by double digits. He also has the distinction of receiving a shout out from President Obama, angrily denying it constituted an endorsement, then running commercials saying he’s been endorsed by….President Obama!

NY City Comptroller, William Thompson
NY City Comptroller, William Thompson

And finally, there’s NY-23, which we wrote about in a previous blog. Much has happened since then. The Republican nominee for that congressional seat, Dede Scozzafava, Abruptly dropped out of the race over the weekend. Then she turned around and backed the Democrat in the race, Bill Owens. The conservative darling in the race, Doug Hoffman, has set off an endorsement frenzy, with every conservative this side of the late William Buckley falling over themselves to back him. They’re calling this a battle for the soul of the GOP.

If that’s the case, it’s a fight over slim pickings indeed.

I for one will be glad when this election cycle is over late Tuesday night. How about you?

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What’s So Special About NY-23?

For those of you who aren’t political junkies, NY-23 is New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Until Recently, it was represented by John McHugh (R).

President Barack Obama chose him for a post at the Pentagon, setting up one of two races for congressional seats this fall (the other is California’s 10th District). Yet NY-23 has begun to capture the attention of the nation’s celebrity conservatives and Republicans like no other race in a long time.

NY-23 is a three way race, pitting Democrat Bill Owens against Republican Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate  Doug Hoffman.

DougHoffman
Doug Hoffman

Right wing Republicans like Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Michelle Bachman, Steve Forbes, Tim Pawlenty, Dick Armey, and Rick Santorum have flocked to back…..Hoffman the Conservative! Oh yeah, and Congressmen John Linder of Georgia and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas have also jumped on the Hoffman bandwagon.

Newt Gingrich must feel awfully lonely. He’s about the only well known Republican retread backing Scozzafava.

What’s so important about a three way race in upstate New York? Why all this right wing firepower? I’ll hazard a guess.

For Palin and Pawlenty, it’s a chance to burnish their credentials with the conservative base both think they’ll need to run for president in 2012. For the others, it’s a test of conservative strength. It’s a chance to say all is not lost in Barack Obama’s America (you know, the one they want back). They’re banking that voters in upstate New York care about the Bachmans, the Forbes, the Thompsons, the who???

NY-23 is the right on what they hope is the comeback trail. How else top explain why this race threatens to eclipse both the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial contests?  Of course, the stakes are high. If all this right wing heft is brought to bear and their guy loses (Owens is currently leading in a couple of polls), what does it say about the true gravitas of the tea party wing of the GOP? Then, on the other side, maybe Doug Hoffman wins. That makes all these right wing Republicans kingmakers in a district most couldn’t find with a GPS. It’s also interesting to hear John Linder in particular bleat about backing Hoffman to end bipartisanship in Washington.

Hey genius, how do you think the seat opened up in the first place? John McHugh, tapped to be Army Secretary, is a Republican! If Owens wins, it will be the first time a Democrat has won the seat in 100 years. No matter what happens, this race has exposed a steel cage match for the soul of the Republican Party.

Do you think it’s worth the trouble, and if so, who will win?

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