Category Archive '2009 Election'

07 Nov 2009

The Democrats’ Mandate Gap

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Rich Lowry makes the same point, observing that the democrats are operating on the basis of a mandate for radical change that they never had.

On November 3, the fairy tale died. The election results in Virginia and New Jersey dismantled the self-satisfied, just-so story that Democrats have been telling themselves about last year’s election.

The story goes like this: In 2008, Americans voted for change not just in the nation’s leadership, but in its fundamental political orientation. They wanted a shift to the left not seen since 1932. The nation’s political map had been utterly transformed. Barack Obama owned the suburbs and independents, and laid claim to formerly secure Republican states. An outdated GOP had been reduced to a rejectionist husk clinging to rural areas and the South.

A more modest rival interpretation explained it differently: A charming young man running against a Republican party debilitated by its association with an unpopular war and a politically toxic incumbent won a solid 7-point victory nationally. He sounded reasonable and moderate, and won for his party something important, if not necessarily epoch-making: a chance to govern after the other side had blown it.

The Republican sweep of the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey is flatly incompatible with the first, heroic interpretation of 2008. If things changed so fundamentally, they wouldn’t have snapped back so quickly.

Read the whole thing.

07 Nov 2009

Democrats Scaring Independents

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David Brooks, too, observes that the willingness of democrats to try for radical change at the risk of the economy is costing them the support of the non-ideological center.

Independents turned on the Republican Party because the MSM persuaded them that it was George W. Bush’s intransigent extremism which had poisoned American political life and produced bitter factionalism, and that it was Bush’s war spending and Republican banking deregulation that produced the economic crisis. They put democrats in charge, and our politics has not become bipartisan, the Middle East is not at peace, and the economy has not recovered. On the other hand, the deficit has quadrupled, the government owns General Motors, and Congress is trying to nationalize another one sixth of the economy while adding another trillion dollar entitlement, just before it proceeds to start working on carbon taxes.

Right now, independent voters are astonishingly volatile. Democrats did poorly in elections on Tuesday partly because of disappointed liberals who think that President Obama is moving too slowly, but mostly because of anxious suburban independents who think he is moving too fast. In Pennsylvania, there was an eight-point swing away from the Democrats among independents from a year ago. In New Jersey, there was a 12-point swing. In Virginia, there was a 13-point swing.

The most telling races this year were the suburban rebellions across the country. For example, in Westchester and Nassau counties in New York, Republican candidates came from nowhere to defeat entrenched Democratic county officials. In blue Pennsylvania, the G.O.P. won six out of seven statewide offices.

Middle-class suburban voters who have been trending Democratic for a decade suddenly lurched out of the Democratic camp — and are now in play.

Why? What do these voters want?

The first thing to say is that this recession has hit the new suburbs hardest, exactly where independents are likely to live. According to a survey by the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, 76 percent of suburbanites say they or someone they know have lost a job in the past year.

The second thing to say is that in this time of need, these voters are not turning to government for support. Trust in government is at its lowest level in recent memory. Over the past year, there has been a shift to the right on issue after issue. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who believe that there is too much government regulation rose from 38 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2009. The percentage of Americans who want unions to have less influence rose from 32 percent to a record 42 percent.

Americans have moved to the right on abortion, immigration and global warming. Over the past seven months, the number of people who say government is doing too many things better left to business has jumped from 40 percent to 48 percent, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

According to that same survey, only 31 percent of Americans believe that the president and Congress “should worry more about boosting the economy even though it may mean larger budget deficits.” Sixty-two percent, twice as many, believe the president and Congress “should worry more about keeping the deficit down, even though it may mean it will take longer for the economy to recover.”

These shifts have not occurred because conservatives and liberals have changed their minds. They haven’t. The shift is among independents.

According to Gallup, the share of independents who describe their views as conservative has moved from 29 percent last year to 35 percent today. The share of independents who believe there is too much government regulation of business has jumped from 38 percent to 50 percent. Independents are in the position of a person who is feeling gravely ill at the same time he has lost faith in his doctor. …

Independents support the party that seems most likely to establish a frame of stability and order, within which they can lead their lives. They can’t always articulate what they want, but they withdraw from any party that threatens turmoil and risk. As always, they’re looking for a safe pair of hands.

04 Nov 2009

A Good Night For the GOP

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Virginia Governor
McDonnell (Rep) 59, Deeds (Dem) 41

New Jersey Governor
Christie (Rep) 49, Corzine (Dem) 45

New York (23d District)
Owens (Dem) 48, Hoffman (Con) 46

We won the two big governor’s races and, despite the uphill difficulty in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, came close to pulling off a conservative win out of what started as a three-way race.

John Dickerson, at Slate, explains that the independent voters have come back to the Republican Party. Independents are, naturally enough, frightened by the economy and appalled at the deficit.

The Republican candidates killed among independents. In both New Jersey and Virginia, they won by two to one. Independent voters make up their largest share of the electorate since pollsters have been counting them. In 2006 and 2008, these voters backed Congressional Democrats, and in the 2008 presidential race, they went for Obama 51 percent to 47 percent over John McCain. They’ve been souring on his presidency, though, and now more disapprove of his performance than approve. In Virginia, Obama won 48 percent of independents. The Republican Bob McDonnell won 68 percent of those voters this time around. In New Jersey, Christie carried independents 58 percent to 31 percent, which helped him overcome the fact that there are 700,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in that state.

03 Nov 2009

Reason is Winning in NY’s 23rd District

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I don’t always agree with the Jack Russell Terrier camp of Conservative blogging (Michelle Malkin, Pam Geller, Dan Riehl, and so on). I recently thought they were all being silly about the 30 year old Roman Polanski scandal.

But today I certainly think our most belligerent rightwing bloggers are all right and Rick Moran must have failed to take his vitamins recently or has converted to vegetarianism or something. He wrote a sermon advocating RINO conservation, and is dead wrong this time.

Moran’s post opens:

What is it that possesses certain conservatives to fool themselves so spectacularly into believing that they can create a majority out of a minority?

Creating majorities out of minorities is what political ideas and leadership are all about.

We created a majority out of a minority in 1980 and in 1984 and in 1994 and in 2000 and in 2004. We get some excellent assistance from the democrats who do outrageous, foolish, and unpatriotic things all the time, and who sometimes try to nationalize the American health care system.

When Hillary Clinton tried that last time, we converted a minority into majority control of both houses of Congress.

We’re just starting to vote today, but we are predicted to convert a conservative minority into a whopping majority in the Virginia gubernatorial race. And events in New York state’s 23rd Congressional race seem to be well on the way to proving that the conservative minority can oust the establishment ersatz Republican candidate and still win the election.

I hope Rick Moran has a taste for feathers, because it certainly looks like he will soon be eating crow.

I’m with Pam Geller on this one. Olympia Snowe a la lanterne! Give Rick Moran a stiff shot of fiery rum.

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