Sunday, November 08, 2009

Editorial: The results hold a lesson

Last Tuesday, voters in New Jersey and Virginia elected governors. Early on, some Democratic hacks rushed to assure you that the outcome meant nothing. Of course, their assertions came a week after polling showed Dems losing in Virginia and likely to lose in New Jersey so their 'observations' were, at best, suspect.

The spinning didn't stop after the votes were counted. And it was hilarious. Virginia we'll set aside (largely because Ava and C.I. address it in El Spirito this morning) and instead zoom in on New Jersey.

Victory Tweet from Corzine

That's the Twittering Jon Corzine on election night, inviting one and all to his Victory Party. Though it would be three days before he'd Tweet again, that was not due to excessive Victory Partying. Corzine, the Democrat, lost.

Jon Corzine, the incumbent governor of New Jersey, lost his re-election bid.

'That's not a reflection on Barack!' insisted the spinners.

Really? Why is that?

It was Barack who declared, "You've had a leader who has fought for what matters most to the people of New Jersey. That's the kind of governor Jon Corzine's been."

Doubt us?

There he is below -- with Caroline Kennedy -- cheering on his pal Jon Corzine.

The Losers

Not a reflection on Barack? Then what about the ad that claimed Barack and Jon were "One Voice"?

They are one!!!

Not a reflection on Barack? Even though the White House took over Corzine's campaign? Even though Barack was darting in and out of New Jersey non-stop?


The Screwing


Those are only a few of the photos Corzine's campaign promoted.

John F. Harris and Jonathan Martin (Politico -- link has text and audio) explained the morning after, "Independents took flight from Democrats. They suffered humiliating gubernatorial losses in traditionally Democratic New Jersey, where Obama lent his prestige in a pair of eleventh-hour campaign rallies Sunday, and in Virginia, which had been trending leftward and just last year was held up as an example of how Obama was redrawing the political map in his favor.
Tuesday night’s trends were emphatically not in Obama's favor. Among those paying closest attention are dozens of Democrats who won formerly Republican congressional districts in 2006 and 2008 and are up for reelection in 2010. Many of these pickups that powered the Democrats’ recapture of Congress came in Southern and border states, or in the Ohio River Valley, where political conditions are similar to those in Virginia."

They lost independents and they lost them in a state that Barack campaigned heavily in. A lot is being made of the fact that this is an off-off-year election. Well those take place, so do off-year elections which is what next year is as the entire US House of Representatives is up for re-election as are a few senators.

Now it would be wrong to look at Tuesday's results and say, "Barack will lose re-election in 2012." That would be misusing the results. But what the results do show is that Barack would have a very difficult time being re-elected if the election were held next month.

The results are a snapshot and they don't have to be for 2010 or 2011 or 2012. Nothing is fixed or etched in stone.

Provided people learn from them. Denying what they indicate doesn't demonstrate anyone's been educated. Refusing to look at the results and use them to tune details, to work on messages, is to refuse the social sciences.

Tuesday's results in Virginia and New Jersey -- with voters stating that they were very worried about the economy in exit polling -- are indicative of where the Democratic Party stands right now. Barack Obama carried both states in November 2008. Yet one year later, both states go Republican. One year later, his heavy campaigning in New Jersey fails to result in a re-election victory for Corzine (who spent a ton of money on the race).

Barack's polling from January through May was astounding with so many fools touting those snapshots as if they represented the electorate's mood in 2012. As has since been established, it doesn't even represent the electorate's mood for the second half of 2012.

Maybe the White House took those early polls to seriously and thought (wrongly) that nothing could ever hurt Barack? If so, they were living in a fantasy world the same way Bully Boy Bush did. He was brought down to earth by reality and reality's brought Barack down to earth as well (reality: he's continuing all of Bush's policies).

The 8 x 10 glossy finally got a resume and suddenly the voters were no longer able to project on him as though he were a blank canvas. Like Tartuffe, once he got a track record, he stood exposed.

Now the White House can live in denial and last week's snapshot will become a snapshot for 2012 as well. Who knows what those wacky boys (we use the term intentionally) will do next?

But Dems up for re-election in 2010? They better grasp that there are no coat tails to run on right now and they better prepare some sort of record of their own that will engage voters. They also better start grasping that the wounds of 2008 are not healed -- how could they be when so few would admit to the non-stop back stabbing? -- and that Hillary supporters have not forgotten. It's really not the time (and never should have been) for any member of Congress to claim (as Nancy Pelosi once did) that Barack was "a gift from God."

Reality has intruded upon the fairy tale. Those who think fawning over Barack will get them re-elected will soon be joining Jon Corzine in attempts to line up post public servant speaking gigs. Those who realize that the White House's positions are increasingly unpopular (continuing Guantanamo, continuing the war in Iraq, continuing the war in Afghanistan, starting the war on Paksitan, continuing warrantless spying on American citizens, continuing DOMA, continuing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, etc.) and buck the White House and show some real spunk and guts will no doubt find voters willing to overlook many not-so-great details on their resume.

Love You Like Lovers

In other words, get too close and the frustration many are feeling with Barack (including independents, Dems and many non-Dems on the left) could rub off on you.

If nothing's done, you can be sure Dems will lose control of at least one house of Congress. For Dem voters who don't remember, the line from 2006 forward was that majorities in both houses didn't mean a thing, they needed super-majorities to get things done! So, for example, just losing two members in the Senate -- yet still retaining control -- would render the Dems in the Senate as useless as they were in 2007 and 2008.

Not to mention cause so many Dems in Congress to reflect on how "The last Tweet is the deepest . . ."



For more on this topic, see Mike's "ObamaGiveAway," Betty's "Corzine goes down for the count" and Trina's "The economy continues to be bad news" and "The economy."
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