Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Election of 2009

2009 is an off-off-off year election. The voters are going to the polls for statewide races in NJ and VA, and in congressional elections in a handful of open districts, where only NY-23 is attracting any attention. If you only knew that unemployment was at record highs and that the party in power in Washington (Democrats) was also the incumbent party in both VA and NJ governor's races (and connected with NY-23 where the President picked the incumbent Republican congressman for the Sec of the Army, thus leaving a vacancy), you would predict the president's Democratic party to lose. You would double down if you realized that Virginia's race featured no incumbents - and the NJ Democratic incumbent Corzine is an ineffective former Goldman Sachs multi-gazillionaire tainted by association with a sick and widespread corruption scandal including the illegal sale of organs who also raised taxes on a lot of people. That is what is going to happen - the Republicans will win these races, in all likelihood.

But you would also predict that all the major candidates of the out-of-power party - the Republicans - would be running against Barack Obama and ideologically against Democrats and liberalism. That is not happening.

In Virginia, the Republican candidate who actually could have quite first-rate right-wing credentials is running as a centrist, making his pitch not to his base, but to swing voters in Northern Virginia. In New Jersey, the Republican candidate is running with ads quoting Barack Obama, and there is a third party candidate (Daggett) who is spoiling the race as a centrist who is pulling votes from the Republicans. In NY-23, a safe GOP district, a 3-way race developed between a centrist republican, a Democrat, and a "Conservative" party member. The conservative party member will likely win buoyed by a civil war within the national GOP ranks over whether to support him or their own less conservative nominee.

So what does this mean? It means that these 2009 are not playing out a referendum on Obama or the Democrats. It means that Republicans who think that 2009 victories point to an ideological tilt or to 2010 victories are mistaken at their peril. With unemployment at levels not seen for more than a quarter century - and in some places, not since the Great Depression - you would expect the party in power to take a beating. But Barack Obama is still over 50% in popularity and conservatism is showing no signs of expanding its appeal to the electorate, an electorate which still wants more government action, and an electorate that is not voting on social issues. The GOP quietly put the tea party nonsense away when the real campaigning began after Labor Day.

In Maine, there will be referendum on whether to block the legalization of gay marriage authorized by the legislature earlier this year. It is running "too close to call" in every poll, and Maine's Republican grandees - Snowe and Collins - are keeping mum about it. The referendum has seemed to be a waste of time to most Maine residents.

In January 2009, Barack Obama made a bargain with the American people: support me and I will fix the economy. In 2010, with the economy on the mend, expect to see his and his party's fortunes soar again. 2010 will be the national referendum on Obama; this 2009 election is not shaping up to be a national referendum. The GOP has avoided making it that, for good reason.


Raised By Republicans said...

I heard today that the pro-choice Republican in the NY-23rd dropped out and "released" her supporters to back whom ever they liked.

I think you are right though about internal disputes within the GOP preventing this election cycle from completely focussing on whether or not people are happy with Obama and the Democrats.

The Law Talking Guy said...

It's very noteworthy that in the really big races, the GOP is not running against Obama.

Raised By Republicans said...

No, I think you are right, they are running against themselves. The conflict in New York is especially interesting. The hubbub that got stirred up by a social moderate (pro-choice, pro-marriage equality) running as the Republican nominee is really telling.

Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, just to update you. The Republican candidate in NY 23rd (pro-choice, pro-marriage equality), endorsed the Democrat over the Conservative Party candidate who had won the support of the wingnut movement and several prominent Republicans - including the supposedly moderate Pawlenty (R-MN).

The Law Talking Guy said...

Imagine how much darker things would look for the Democrats if Scozzafava had were able to run as a pro-choice moderate Republican primarily by blasting HARD against Obama on spending issues.

Raised By Republicans said...

I agree. The right wing is going nuts. What I find amazing is that genuine moderates like Pawlenty are so intimidated by the far right that they will thrown another moderate under the bus rather than risk annoying "the base."

The Law Talking Guy said...

the right wing obsession with political purity, religious purity, and racial purity, are all of a sick piece.