If I Owned a Network
November 4, 2009 - 5:40 AMOne election night does not allow us to draw sweeping conclusions about what will happen in 2010 but it does tell us this: Whatever political capital the White House thought it had in reserve for the 2010 legislative and electoral has disappeared.
It died in Virginia last night when Bob McDonnell the R*E*P*U*B*L*I*C*A*N won the election for Governor, beating the democratic candidate, Creigh Deeds by something on the order of 18 percentage points -- way, WAY more than even the most optimistic public polls had predicted.
Really, really smart political people are saying this result was because everyone in the Commonwealth of Virginia hates what President Barack Obama has been doing to the nation and they wanted to get a leg up on the rest of the country in voicing their displeasure.
The Democratic Party also died in New Jersey, when R*E*P*U*B*L*I*C*A*N Chris Christie beat incumbent democrat Jon Corzine by better than 100,000 votes in a State which hasn't voted for a Republican since … a very long time ago (it was 1997 when Christine Todd Whitman was re-elected Governor).
Hamid Karzai called Barack Obama to offer both condolences and advice as to how Obama might want to approach his own re-election in 2012 based upon Karzai's excellent showing in the Election That Never Was in Afghanistan.
By the way, it was reported well after the polls closed that the former candidate for President of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, had endorsed Chris Christie on the grounds that he was for anyone whose first and last names were about the same.
Former Secretary-General of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, did not immediately return phone calls.
Ok. Enough of the foolishness.
The Democratic Party is alive, even if not as healthy as it was this time last year. As I type this at 10:53 Tuesday night, McDonnell has been declared the winner in Virginia and the New Jersey race has been called for Christy.
Kudos, by the way, for the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Gov. Hailey Barbour (R-Miss). There were two GOP candidates for Governor and they both won.
As you know, these were the first state-wide races in America without Barack Obama on the ballot of George W. Bush in the White House.
The results of the election will, like a cannon going off in a cave, echo long after the initial report.
You have read this here before: Nothing is as important to a Member of Congress than his or her re-election. Blue Dog Democrats will read these results and begin immediately looking at the independent voters in their Districts and recalibrate their voting records, their floor statements, and their level of support for the agenda of President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
There will be no health care bill this year. There will be no cap-and-trade bill this year. There will be no net neutrality regulations this year. There will be no card-check legislation this year.
Also at 10:53 last night, reports of voting machine problems in upstate New York meant there may be no official result in NY-23 between the Democrat Bill Owen and the Conservative Doug Hoffman until later today.
The difference between the two men was about 4,000 votes. The Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, had about 5,200 votes. Before you start gnashing your teeth, there is no way to know, given her liberal outlook, whether those votes would have gone to Hoffman or to Owen had Scozzafava not been on the ballot.
It is always dangerous to draw a graph based upon one data point. One election night does not allow us to draw sweeping conclusions about what will happen in 2010 but it does tell us this: Whatever political capital the White House thought it had in reserve for the legislative and electoral battles coming up, have disappeared as completely as the capital behind Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, and all the other financial institutions which have failed over the past 12 months.
The Democratic Party is not dead, but it better get a flu shot in a hurry.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to coverage from the Washington Post and the Newark Star-Ledger; a Mullfoto from the World Series game in Philly on Monday night and a Catchy Caption of the Day.