Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yesterday's elections

A lot of pundits are looking at the results of yesterday's elections in New Jersey and Virginia and calling them a rebuke of President Obama and a shot in the arm for Republican conservatism. Those pundits need to look more closely.

Gov. John Corzine of New Jersey lost because he failed to deliver on the promises he made to New Jersey voters in the previous election. And although Republican Christopher Christie (pictured), who won with just 49 percent of the vote, ran an anti-tax campaign, he did not campaign as a social conservative and, in fact, those responding to exit polls who said they voted for him weren't sure where he stood on any major issue.

Republican Robert McDonnell won in Virginia because he promised to create jobs and fix the state's transportation system. He also ignored trademark social conservative issues like abortion and same-sex marriages.

In fact, the only person to run on issues dear to the heart of the Republican right-wingnuts lost. That was Douglas Hoffman, the conservative who forced the mainstream Republican, Dede Scozzafava, out of the race for the northernmost congressional district of New York state because she crossed the line on issues like abortion. Democrat Bill Owens won the election giving the seat to Democrats for the first time in just about everyone's memory.

So what did yesterday's elections prove? It proved voters want their political leaders to focus on sound policy making and forget about party orthodoxy. But, above all, it showed the No. 1 issue on the minds of voters right now is still the economy.

As for me, I still think we can.

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