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When the Republican party scored big gubernatorial wins in New Jersey and Virginia yesterday, emerging victorious in those two blue states that voted for Obama only one short year ago, I couldn't help but think of all the pundits and talking heads who giddily predicted years and years of GOP'ers scrounging for food in the political wilderness after Obama's historic 2008 victory and the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress. 'The political landscape has shifted forever !' proclaimed these sages of punditry (who almost all happen to be Democrats). 'The Reagan Revolution is over ! The GOP is marginalized !,' intoned these bellwethers of bombastic buffoonery (who almost all happen to be Democrats).
As it turns out, forever isn't a very long time when it comes to politics. The Republicans won almost everything yesterday. They even won the one race they lost. I'll get back to that in a minute.
Despite being outspent by a margin of 3-to-1, and despite President Obama bringing his star power to bear by campaigning for his opponent, Republican challenger Chris Christie defeated the Democratic incumbent governor of New Jersey, the billionaire Jon Corzine. New Jersey has been a solid blue state for years, so this was a major 'get' for the GOP. In Virginia, a traditional swing state, the Republicans won the governorship by a landslide. They also won the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General races by landslides. In New York city, Republican Michael Bloomberg (or is he an Independent now ?) won a third term. My liberal television station du jour (I chose to watch CNN attempt to explain the voting results away), kept saying that the wealthy Bloomberg "bought the vote." Notably, I never heard CNN say a word about the wealthy Democrat Corzine attempting to buy the vote in New Jersey, which is one reason I'm referring to them as my liberal television station du jour.
CNN came up with a variety of rationalizations in an attempt to explain away yesterday's GOP wins. Here are the top few:
1) The Democrats weren't energized like they were in 2008. They have a post-Obama hangover.
2) The opposition party always wins the year after a presidential election.
3) These are only local races with no national significance, and no significance in 2010.
4) Crazed wingnuts like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the Tea Partiers have whipped the conservatives up into conniptions, causing them to turn out at the voting booth (and may I add, we're lucky nobody was hurt).
What CNN seems unable to grasp are the actual facts. The economy stinks, Obama is running the deficit through the roof, Americans are against ObamaCare, Americans don't want a bunch of new taxes during a recession, Americans don't want their electricity bills to go up, Americans are alarmed at all the government expansion and overreach, joblessness is around 17%, etc, etc.
Now let me get back to the one significant bright spot for the Democrats in yesterday's elections, if you can call it a bright spot (CNN certainly tried to make the claim). In New York state's 23rd congressional district, Democrat Bill Owens defeated Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman and Republican party candidate Dede Scozzafava in what can only be termed a comedy of errors by the Republican keystone cops in New York. The GOP really had to bollux things up to lose this race. The 23rd district had been controlled by Republicans for a century. All the GOP had to do was nominate an actual Republican and this race was theirs, but they couldn't even manage that much. Instead, they stuck Scozzafava on the ballot, a Democrat in Republican clothing. Predictably, most Republicans didn't like her, though Newt Gingrich proved he cares more about party power than principle by backing her. Shame on Newt. Scozzafava faltered badly in the polls and unknown third party candidate Hoffman surged into the lead as several prominent Republicans supported him. The Republicans still would have won the race with Hoffman, but then Scozzafava dropped out and stabbed the stumblebum GOP in the back by supporting the Democrat Owens. With Scozzafava dropping out so late in the race, her name still appeared on the ballot, and enough party line Republicans voted for her to hand the race to the Democrat. Just brilliant, GOP. Just brilliant. Owens wins without a majority of the vote, even though the majority of the voters were against him. I only hope the Republican party bosses in New York stay away from sharp objects, or they might hurt themselves.
In a mind-numbing bit of illogical gymnastics, CNN claimed the Owens win illustrated that the GOP can't win with far right candidates like Hoffman. I kid you not. Here's Hoffman, who has never run for political office in his life, who is not anywhere close to being a polished politician (which is a plus in my book), running as a third party candidate against a career Democrat, with a Republican candidate scraping off critical votes and endorsing his opponent, and Hoffman still almost pulls it off, losing by only 3-4 points. And CNN decides Hoffman is one of the wingnut fringe. Such "analysis" makes CNN the wingnut fringe, if you ask me. Larry King couldn't say Hoffman's name without referring to him as "far right" or "wingnut," due to Hoffman's affinity for the Tea Party movement. Hoffman, btw, stands for fiscal responsiblity, reducing the debt, low taxes, etc. You know, all those "wingnutty" ideas that all sane people favor.
I'm just glad I didn't watch MSNBC. Has that station accused any Republicans of stealing elections yet ? If not, give them time. I'm sure they will, as soon as Keith Olbermann finds out there was a Republican working for the Board of Elections somewhere in New Jersey.