The folks over at Fox are beside themselves over the results in New Jersey and Virginia last night. They will be on the TV today talking about how this is a clear repudiation of the Obama agenda and how this bodes well for the GOP in 2010 and 2012. Of course they will forget to mention that the only election that might affect the Obama agenda went to the the Democrats.
NY-23 went to a Democratic candidate for the first time in over 150 years. The Republicans (Palin, Pawlenty, etc.) decided that their candidate wasn't conservative enough and decided to back the Conservative party candidate even though he didn't live in the district and didn't know anything about the district. The military base is one of the biggest employers in the district, but the Conservative party candidate didn't even know there was a military base there. The Republican leadership decided that there was no place in the party for a "moderate" Republican. They didn't care that their candidate was basically a carpet bagger. They only cared that he was a Tea Bagger.
The exit polls in New Jersey and Virginia show that a majority of those voters approve of the President. These races were decided by local issues. These are tough economic times and people do vote with their pocket books. We have a clear example of that from last November. In Virginia the Democrats have controlled the Governorship for the last eight years in which the state, along with the rest of the country, has swung from recession to boom times back to recession. The voters of the state decided that they wanted to try something else at the state level. They were not voting for or against the Obama agenda (I take that back. Of course some were voting against the Obama agenda, but they would do so in an election for dog catcher as well). The same is true of New Jersey.
The elections of 2010 will be a better barometer of what the country thinks of the President. Those elections will have a direct effect on his ability to push his agenda through. Health Care reform has to pass and the economy (read unemployment numbers) has to begin to show a real turnaround. If those things happen, the Democrats will do fairly well in next years elections. If they don't, then the Democratic majority in the House will be in jeopardy. The war in Afghanistan will have little effect because the Republicans are actually pushing for more troops, while the majority of the country has very little stomach for that.
As is the case in most elections, however, people vote with their pocketbooks. If the President can convince the majority of Americans that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and (to borrow a line from George Bush Sr.) to stay the course, the Democrats should be able to hold on to their margins in the House and Senate. If the Republicans can shape the debate to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Democratic leadership then the Republicans may well find themselves back in control of Congress and with a much smaller minority in the Senate.
My biggest disappointment over the results of yesterdays elections was the fact that Maine made it 0-31 when same sex marriage initiatives face the voters. I have already written on this subject but each time it comes up it just makes my blood boil. Why do Republicans, who claim to be champions of individual liberty and less government intrusion in our lives, continue to revel in denying a basic human right to citizens of this country? Why would those who believe in "family values" deny people the right to start a family of their own? Why is it anybodies business if two consenting adults want to get married? And why have voters continually taken away a right that has been guaranteed by either the courts or state legislature? Why don't we just start repealing rights that we don't like? There's a justice of the peace in Louisiana who wouldn't mind repealing Loving v. Virgina. Perhaps the Civil Rights Act or Voting Rights Act should be repealed as well. I'm sure there are many that aren't particularly thrilled with the 24th amendment. Perhaps women shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a voting booth considering how fragile and emotional they are. This is all complete nonsense. I have no idea how a nation that prides itself on personal freedom can continue to treat a selected portion of it's citizens as if they are not worthy of the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. It's just plain shameful.
I have very conflicted feelings about Thomas Jefferson, but there is one thing cannot be disputed and that was his gift with words. I'll end this particular rant with one the most famous sentences in the English language. It was mainly the work of Jefferson (with some slight revisions from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, to name two) and although the idea had been in print before, it had never been and probably has never been stated more eloquently and clearly. One of these days we'll live up to this, but unfortunately, it's not today. And I quote the good gentlemen from Virgina,
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."