The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Democrats Throw Away The Baby And The Bathwater

Posted by The Futility Monster on November 4, 2009 @ 16:04


Chris Christie (R) may indeed be corpulent, but it probably shouldn't be an election issue...

Over in the US, it’s been a pretty remarkable off-year election season.

The three races that became nationally significant were gubernatorial battles in Virginia and New Jersey, and a Congressional seat in the House of Representatives in the 23rd district of New York. The first two slots were previously held by Democrats, and the final one was held by a Republican.

The results are now in, and every seat has flipped. New Jersey, traditionally seen as rock solid for the Democrats, now has a Republican governor. Virginia, a state critical to the Obama tidal wave, also has a Republican governor, delivered in a landslide.

Meanwhile, in perhaps the result of the night, rural upstate New York now has its very own Democrat representative, after a spectacular implosion in the Republican field when a third party right-wing crank going by the name of Doug Hoffman managed to split the vote between the mostly moderate electorate. Oh, and he caused the official Republican to drop out, with the blessing of the national Republican party.

There is much to digest from these results, but in truth, the lessons to be learned are simple.

In Virginia, the Democratic candidate spent almost the entire electoral cycle running away from popular Democratic ideas, like, I dunno, improved access to healthcare. He seemed to forget that Obama carried his state on that very same agenda. Sure, everyone wants their own man, but perhaps the Democrats really picked the wrong candidate here. After all, exit polls from the state suggested that were the 2008 election to be rerun, Obama would still win with the same percentage…

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the incumbent Democrat suffered a disappointing defeat when it had seemed he’d done so well to bring himself back in the game. I suspect the key thing that brought him down was a rather miserable governing record, the usual level of anti-incumbency during a recession, and a relentlessly negative campaign that even enjoyed a joke at the expense of his opponents fatness. In any case, it is a very poor loss: New Jersey is a solid “D” state, and to see it being thrown away again suggests that the candidate not wise. Perhaps he should have been “retired” before the voters did it for him.

Finally, NY-23 delivered the coup de grace of the evening. In a place which hasn’t elected a Democrat for an enormous length of time, they now have one. Why? Largely because the Republicans haven’t shown themselves as fit to govern. What a shamble, to tear their own party inside out and end up backing the third-candidate.

What they demonstrated was that there is no room for moderate Republicans in the new GOP. The Party of Palin and Limbaugh is now well on course for nominating a religious variant on a Barry Goldwater style candidacy for 2012, which will achieve a very similar electoral outcome. Pariah status is imminent. It’s all the logical conclusion of the George W. Bush playbook that brought the economic capitalist die-hards into bed with the religious right. Their funeral, I suppose.

In summary, Democrats have gotta find that spine that I wrote about last week. They need to be brave enough to be a truly progressive Democrat, because that is where the mainstream of America is, regardless of how much the corporate dollars and the talking heads on Fox News try to insist otherwise.

If they can’t do that, and instead sacrifice themselves to the lobbyists and see themselves held to ransom in the Senate by the fringe of an increasingly radical and suicidal Republican party, they’ll piss off the entire coalition from young to old that brought Obama to power.

And then they won’t see government again for a very long time.

Finally, for the record, in the immortal words of Meat Loaf, two outta three ain’t bad.


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