Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Election Day 2009

Ouch! It was a bad day for the forces of light. Corzine falls to Christie in New Jersey and Maine voters reject same sex marriage. In Washington R-71 had a razor thin lead with only 51% of the votes in and, at least so far, I’ve been unable to locate any updated information. The Republicans also swept the Virginia elections.

So what does this all mean? It’s always dangerous to draw conclusions because there are many varied and complex factors at work but I think a few things are fairly obvious.

The first obvious conclusion is that a reasonable portion of the American electorate is always going to vote for the other guy. Whichever party is in control gets most of the flak when things go wrong and people always focus on what’s wrong more than what’s right.

Except for unusual situations, it’s always the economy stupid and right now the economy still sucks.

New Jersey had some additional things going on as well. Corzine made himself unpopular in a number of secondary ways. His initial Attorney General appointment turned out to be a scofflaw and then there was the whole fiasco with the Rutgers women’s basketball team and his car getting into an accident at 90 miles per hour.

Then there are the real estate taxes in New Jersey.

The New York Times had comparison maps between 2005 and 2009 and Corzine lost support across the board. He even lost five counties he had won the last time around. In counties he won both times, he won by a smaller margin; in counties he lost both times, he lost by a wider margin.

Then there are the real estate taxes in New Jersey and that’s not to mention the latest round of corruption scandals. Clearly Jon had problems. Did I mention the real estate taxes in New Jersey?

Corzine was vulnerable but Christie was a really poor choice. I think you will see lots of regret very quickly. I’m not going to talk about Virginia because I don’t know enough about it.

As for Maine, this is another indication that while folks are willing to extend equal legal rights to gay couples they do not want to call it marriage. While accepting “Civil Unions” or “Domestic Partnerships” sounds like a reasonable compromise, let’s not forget that different is inherently unequal and divides the population into first class and second class citizens.

Is this really want we want in a country that supposedly claims that all men are created equal and are entitled to equal protection under the law?

This isn’t the end of the war, just a temporary setback. I was online in the “No on 1” chat room last night so trust me the fight isn’t over. As early as this morning I got an e-mail to that effect marshalling the troops. Yes it’s a disappointment, so you will excuse us as we get up, dust ourselves off and get ready for the next fight.

There was a silver lining last night and it may turn out to be more important than any of the other results. In New York’s 23rd district there was a special congressional election. The 23rd is a solid Republican District but there was a problem this year.

The party regulars put up Dede Scozzafave, a moderate Republican, and there was what was called “a grass roots revolt” among the extreme ring wing of the party. Basically they drove Scozzafave out of the election and swung their support to the Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.

This was touted as the first major confrontation in the Republican Party that would prove, as people like James Dobson, Tony Perkins and Sarah Palin have been saying, that success lay in going further to the right and completing eliminating any moderate positions.

Well, Hoffman lost. The Democrat, Bill Owens, won with 49.3% of the vote because 5.5% of the voters voted for Scozzafave anyway even though she had withdrawn.

Hopefully this is a strong indication that moderate independent voters simply will not support extreme candidates and that includes both the extreme right and the extreme left. I would very much like to see the Republican Party go back to its fiscally conservative but socially progressive roots.

The Democrats need to take this as a wake-up call. They could easily loose control of the Congress in the next election and ultimately the 2012 Presidential election if they don’t figure out a way to get credit for what they’re doing right and correct what they’re doing wrong.

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