2009 Elections

Call me an apologist for the Democrats, but I know why Creigh Deeds lost in Virginia.  He lost because Virginia voters are historically strange.  Eight to 12 years of one party and they switch.  When Charles Robb was elected Governor he was the first Democrat in 12 years.  He was followed by two more Dems.  Then there were 8 Republican years followed by 8 Democratic ones.  See the pattern here.  I think the swing has become shorter because people’s attention span has become shorter.  I’ve said for years that Virginia needs to change this crazy one term and you’re out rule for governors.  I think Tim Kaine could have been re-elected. 

I’ll leave the analysis of Jon Corzine’s loss to others, but I think it had something to do with raising taxes and the unemployment rate in New Jersey.  The subway news-sheet I read on my way to work yesterday advised that if you were looking for a job, don’t think about moving to New Jersey.

Most disappointing is the rejection of gay marriage by the Maine voters.  As I have said about California’s Prop 8, I think it is wrong to let people vote on other people’s civil rights.  This also shows why we need national protections beginning with an ending “don’t ask” for the military and the Defense of Marriage Act.  Of course, this will probably make the Obama administration even more cautious.

But,

Democrats won a special election in New York State’s northernmost Congressional district Tuesday, a setback for national conservatives who heavily promoted a third candidate in what became an intense debate over the direction of the Republican Party.

This is the district which clearly showed Republican party differences.

The district has been a Republican stronghold for generations, and the party has represented parts of it since the 19th century.

The battle became one of the most closely followed races in the nation, drawing in some of the biggest forces in politics in both parties. Republicans who viewed the race as a test of the party’s most deeply held conservative principles — including Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska; Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a presidential hopeful; and grass-roots groups that have forcefully opposed Democratic economic and health care policies — rallied behind Mr. Hoffman.

Democrats threw muscle behind the race as well, eager to avoid a potentially embarrassing defeat as President Obama’s approval ratings have softened and efforts to portray them as the party of big government and deficit spending appear to be sticking. A win in the Republican-leaning 23rd Congressional District would provide Democrats with a welcome boost, while a loss would reinforce the notion that the party is struggling.

The seat became vacant after President Obama appointed its long-serving Republican congressman, John M. McHugh, as secretary of the Army.

But as you will recall

Leading conservative voices — including The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and The Weekly Standard and the talk show personalities Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck — took on the Republican nominee, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who supports gay rights and abortion rights and had embraced some Democratic economic policies like the federal stimulus package. They labeled her as too liberal.

The attacks on Ms. Scozzafava eventually took their toll, and she stunned her party over the weekend first by withdrawing from the race and then by urging her supporters to vote for Mr. Owens, a 60-year-old lawyer from Plattsburgh.

So despite the gloomy election news elsewhere, we can watch the Republicans fight some more.  I have a feeling they will try to run against more moderate Republicans.  Maybe some of them should try to save themselves by supporting health care reform.  And if, as some have speculated, the Democrats are appointing these moderate Republicans to set up a Democratic win in the next election, the strategy worked in New York’s 23rd.

The stage is set for 2010.

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