I like Roger Simon’s take on the election in NY-23 yesterday:
…the 23rd is a safely Republican, even conservative, district. In a year where the GOP racked up a 20% margin in Virginia and coasted easily in Jersey, a state in which Obama romped in ‘08 by 16%, what was the problem?
Well… I might as well say it… social conservatism. America is a fiscally conservative country – now perhaps more than ever, and with much justification – but not a socially conservative one. No, I don’t mean to say it’s socially liberal. It’s not. It’s socially laissez-faire (just as its mostly fiscally laissez-faire). Whether we’re pro-choice, pro-life or whatever we are, most of us want the government out of our bedrooms, just as we want it out of our wallets.
This is the best case scenario for what the GOP might conclude from the Conservative Hoffman’s defeat.
Robert Tracinski, writing before the election, said the message Democrats need to hear is:
…that America has not shifted left and therefore that there is no base of popular support for President Obama’s policies.
Kos has a slightly different take. On the Virginia race:
…preliminary numbers (at least in Virginia) show that GOP turnout remained the same as last year, but Democratic turnout collapsed. This is a base problem, and this is what Democrats better take from tonight:
- If you abandon Democratic principles in a bid for unnecessary “bipartisanship”, you will lose votes.
- If you water down reform in favor of Blue Dogs and their corporate benefactors, you will lose votes.
- If you forget why you were elected — health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform — you will lose votes.
Tonight proved conclusively that we’re not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We’ll turn out if we feel it’s worth our time and effort to vote, and we’ll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.
The choice is yours. Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home. And you aren’t going to make up the margins with conservative voters. They already know exactly who they’re voting for, and it ain’t you.
But he also gloats at conservatives for doing essentially what he advises Democrats to do:
Let’s all give a hearty round of applause to the teabaggers, who took what would’ve been a very good night for Republicans and ruined it by helping Democrats pick up a seat they hadn’t held since the Civil War.
Glenn Beck? Thanks!
Sarah Palin? Thanks!
Tim Pawlenty? Thanks!
Club for Growth? Thanks!
Ironically, the NRCC, the RNC, Newt Gingrich and the smartest Republican in the world, Tom Davis (former NRCC chair) were right — the Republican Party needs to be more of a big tent to successfully compete in the Northeast and other non-Southern parts of the country.
So let’s sit back and watch the teabaggers go to war against the GOP establishment, even though it was the national and local GOP that knew how to best hold the seat.
While the Virginia and New Jersey losses hurt, governor races usually revolve around local issues. if the question was “are voters angry at the direction of Congress and want Democrats stopped”, then the answer is clear — Democrats won both congressional races, including the über-reliable NY-23. Even in conservative districts (at least those outside the South), people don’t want what the teabaggers are selling.
Kos misses the most important point of the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Independents voted against the Democrats. In NY-23 Hoffman was not even the Republican — he was the Conservative Party candidate — but he came close to winning.
It looks to me like Kos’s prescription of staying left without compromise is a death wish for the Democrats, and I suspect a lot of Blue Dog Democrats woke up this morning in a new frame of mind. Let’s hope that they conclude they must vote against health care “reform” and the “cap and trade” assault on civilization, and any other statist monstrosities the leftists try to pull off in 2010 — or else their political career will end next November.
If the Republicans stick to the principles of freedom in the board room and in the bed room, then they can pick up independents. If they make elections about issues such as abortion and gay marriage — the issues of the religious right — they lose independents.