Wednesday, November 4, 2009
THE MORNING AFTER
The great "bellwether" election of 2009 is over, and, regardless of how the Democratic or Republican Parties spin it, the end result was really a headache for both.
Yes, the Republicans recaptured the Virginia and New Jersey governorships, but they also lost a U.S. House seat they had held since before the Civil War. They will undoubtedly celebrate loudly and feed us a lot of ballyhoo about the election being a nationwide referendum against the Obama administration, but that is a load of hogwash, as voter exit poll surveys clearly showed. This was NOT a vote against Obama so much as a vote against an unpopular Democratic politician running a negative campaign in a state rife with corruption and unemployment (NJ), and a vote for a more personable candidate the public was warmer to than his detached, standoffish opponent (VA). Not only that, but BOTH states have had a long tendency of voting against the party holding the White House in gubernatorial elections.
And, no matter how they may try to spin it, the Palin-Bachmann-Limbaugh-Beck-Pawlenty far-right conservative anschluss of New York's 23rd Congressional District was an absolute failure. Yes, the far-right wingnut "base" attempt to oust a moderate Republican from the race succeeded, but they failed to win a majority of the voters in that heavily Republican and conservative district. Typically, off-year elections are dominated by out-of-power party enthusiasts rather than independents or average voters, so, actually, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman (a Glenn Beck protege) should have won that House seat. But no, wingnuts: you LOST. And the reason you lost is because you fielded an ideological carpetbagger in a blatant attempt to purge and upstage the moderate Republican candidate. Naturally, wild-eyed fools like Beck and Limbaugh will spin this as an example of what they'll call "RINO treachery" by moderate Republican candidate Dede Scozafava, who, upon being dumped by the far-right Hoffman, publicly endorsed the Democratic challenger Bill Owens, who ended up winning the election. In reality, the only treachery here was by these far, far-right wingnuts, whose views are NOT shared by the majority of the country, having grabbed nearly total control of the Republican Party and pushing moderate candidates out. This should serve as a giant warning to the Republican Party to purge these ultra-conservative fanatics, rather than moderates, from the party if they ever hope to win another national election. For with wingnuts at the helm, the GOP ship will certainly be smashed against the cliff going forward, and that should be a source of huge concern to every Republican!
The Democrats will revel in their New York win, but they should soberly take stock and realize that the victory would never have occurred without a Republican split. This win was NOT a resounding endorsement of their national performance or of President Obama's policies! For one thing, far too many progressive and Democratic voters stayed home. For another, just as Nancy Hanks predicted in her recent post over at The Hankster, the Republicans DID manage to peel off a few independent votes and this does not bode well for the President's or the progressive agenda in 2010. President Obama is not being perceived as a strong, effective, and decisive leader. His efforts at bipartisanship have hurt rather than helped him, for they have borne no fruit. Joblessness is still rising, and hurting people want ACTION---NOW! Many are starting to wonder why huge banks and auto companies got bailouts but the average citizen got very, very little in return. Conservative Republicans, aided by timid "Blue Dog" Democrats' (DINOs) inaction, are gaining some ground by spinning this disastrous Bush-bequeathed economy into "the Obama recession", and they won't let up. People have GOT to start seeing some big results from the Obama agenda, and that means he and his Democrats must begin to push and lead boldly rather than proceeding along with the "Republican Lite" methodology they have been using. That means JOBS programs - NOW - and passing meaningful health care reform WITH A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION - NOW! Democrats must UNITE and boldly enact legislation benefitting average people, as they did from 1933-1968, rather than playing the Republican game of cozying up to big business. And that also means getting a more people-oriented and fiery Senate Majority Leader than that wimpy Harry Reid, too!
This country elected Barack Obama one year ago for bold, decisive CHANGE on behalf of the people. He has managed to save the economy, but it is still very sick and ordinary peoples' lives are still negatively affected. If he wants to get anything major accomplished in this term, and to hold onto good Congressional majorities, he must rekindle his base and implement a progressive, for-the-people agenda and stop pussyfooting around with conservative Republicans!