About Last Night

Local politics really is local, most of the time, and it’s perilous to draw conclusions about a local election when you’re watching from a distance. I’ve seen far-away pundits and hacks draw boneheaded conclusions about elections in my locality. Often, in a local or state election, there are things going on that have nothing to do with national issues.

That said, I think Mike Madden is right about incumbents being blamed for the economy. He is also right that Chris Christie ran in New Jersey as a moderate, not a movement conservative. There wasn’t a hint of guns, God or gays in Christie’s television ads; he talked only about taxes and the economy. He ran as a RINO, in other words. I think Corzine made a huge mistake by not emphasizing Christie’s past as a movement conservative wise guy.

Nate Silver says:

Obama approval was actually pretty strong in New Jersey, at 57 percent, but 27 percent of those who approved of Obama nevertheless voted for someone other than Corzine. This one really does appear to be mostly about Corzine being an unappealing candidate, as the Democrats look like they’ll lose just one or two seats in the state legislature in Trenton. Corzine compounded his problems by staying negative until the bitter end of the campaign rather than rounding out his portfolio after having closed the margin with Christie.

But that’s water under the bridge now. Good luck, New Jersey. You’ll need it.

I would love to talk to people who live in New York’s 23rd congressional district about why they think the district elected its first Democrat, probably ever. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of CD 23 voters were spooked away from voting for Hoffman by the wingnuts who showed up to campaign for him. Upstate New York may be more conservative than Manhattan, but neither is it Mississippi.

It is not always a good idea to bring in busloads of people from distant places to work local elections. The style of campaigning that works well in the deep South is a big turnoff to the damnyankees in these parts, and vice versa.

To the wingnuts, the real prize in NY 23 was defeating the moderate Republican Scozzafava. They believe they have taught the national GOP a lesson. However, the lesson the national GOP might really have learned is that the far right base cannot win elections. The Teabaggers threw everything they had at New York 23, and they lost to a Democrat.

“Will Republicans do Obama a big favor by nominating a crop of Hoffmans for 2010?” Josh Marshall asks. We’ll see.

8 thoughts on “About Last Night

  1. Hoffman Baby Hoffman! hehehehe, what will the dimwittedteabaggers think of next? I can’t wait for the political genius Palin’s next move! Ya hey dare ya betch ya, let me get back to ya!

  2. The baggers didn’t just lose. They lost to a Democrat in a solid Republican district.

    Listening to commentators and callers on NPR (Rehm, On point) for the past hour, it’s clear to me that Obama is increasingly seen as a self-serving politician rather than a leader. I hope he picks up on that warning.

  3. “The Morning After”

    I can’t draw a stick man, but if I could draw a political cartoon for today, it would show the big three GOP candidates in bed, the new VA governor on one side, the new NJ governor on the other and Hoffman laying betwen them swinging a tea bag. The caption underneath would read ‘Was it good for you?’

    The bottom line is that the GOP put up stronger candidates – only one race was an idealogical one, and the teabagger was it and he lost. I didn’t really see any talking heads who picked up on this point. They are all expecting that the vote signifies a sea change in voters that I don’t see. Given a choice between 2 canidates, a lot of voters in the center will ignore pary labels and pull the lever for the candidate they think is better for them. The incumbant in VA distanced himself from President Obama and the Washington politics, ignoring the demographics of VA. The voters of that demographic ignored him.

    The incumbant in NJ was plagued by corruption scandals – that’s his fault – and the GOP nailed him with it. Had the Democrats tossed the NJ incumbant in the primaries for a straight-shooting ethical candidate, they would have swept.

    It’s not that the voters have become more conservative. We put up piss-poor candidates in two governors races and the GOP didn’t. In CD23, the overall wisdom of the voters was a shock and a delight, but it confirms that nothing has changed. If we put up good candidates, we will win. If the GOP puts up better candidates, they will win. The lesson hardest to learn is that an incumbant incompetent is a liability – even if he has a D next to his name. We have to be brutal in pruning our dead wood in the primaries, or the GOP will harvest victories.

  4. Barbara – Here’s a business idea. How much would you charge to spellcheck my posts before you approve them? (The check is in the mail.)

  5. I had a good long laugh when I learned that Hoffman lost. And I love your word picture Doug, “was it good for you?”

  6. They are kind of right. Kind of. They don’t need to win Congress, or the Presidency. They just have to keep the Democrats from passing anything. They got almost everything they wanted with W, and it’s not like Obama is nominating actual liberals to the bench. They just need to keep their party in lockstep and Ny23 will probably assure that. To win, Democrats must go forward, to win Republicans must not go back. They have the easier task.

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