Deeds, Corzine Losses Signal Potentially Heavy Dem Losses in 2010
I was only nine years old when the first winds of a political hurricane swept across America in 1993, and only ten when that category 5 hurricane blew through Congress and wiped out the Democratic majority. I don’t remember those elections, but I would imagine the ’93 election made conservatives feel very much how they’re feeling tonight.
The first good news for conservatives came from Virginia, where Republican Bob McDonnell led his party to victory not only in the gubernatorial race but in all of the statewide executive races and in a significant number of legislative races as well. There can be no question that this is a significant victory in a state that was key to Barack Obama’s 2008 win and that has elected two consecutive Democratic governors.
The next round of good tidings came surprisingly early from New Jersey, where Republican Chris Christie defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. Christie pulled off this coup even with the added obstacle of independent candidate Chris Daggett, who was widely said to be drawing votes away from the GOP candidate. As I noted before, a Corzine defeat could be the worst sign of things to come for Democrats. Unlike Virginia, which is often called a purple state, Jersey is thoroughly blue. And let’s not forget that Christine Todd Whitman took New Jersey from the Democrats in 1993.
As of this writing, there is still one important race in which a winner has not yet been declared. I’m referring to the NY-23 special election, which is pitting Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman against Democrat Bill Owens after liberal Republican candidate Dierdre Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed Owens. If Owens wins in NY-23 — and it appears that he might — Democrats will likely point to their victory in a typically GOP district as a sign that the Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey are not all that significant.
It has to be understood that conservatives already won in NY-23 the moment Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race. The conservative goal in NY-23 was to send a message to the Republican establishment that candidates like Scozzafava are unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Mission accomplished. Scozzafava is out, and by endorsing Owens she more than proved conservatives’ point for them. A Hoffman victory would certainly sweeten the deal, but they have always said that they would prefer to lose with a conservative like Hoffman than win with a liberal like Scozzafava.
Besides, we shouldn’t forget that liberal superstar Markos Moulitsas (Daily Kos) declared some time ago that an Owens victory wouldn’t really be a victory for liberals. Referring to Owens as a “Lieberdem Blue Dog,” Moulitsas argued that a Scozzafava victory would be a bigger victory for liberals. In defeating Dede Scozzafava in NY-23, conservatives defeated the candidate that liberals like Moulitsas preferred and stuck them with another moderate who might value his reelection over Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.
No matter how they spin it, tonight’s outcome in Virginia and New Jersey are signs that Democrats must dramatically change course if they hope to avoid heavy losses next year. President Obama can claim he’s not watching the election results all he wants, but in making that claim he is either a liar or a fool.
I’m betting on the former. I’m betting he’s watching the results, and he’s worried. He’s worried because he knows the conservatives who shouted down congressmen and senators in August are coming to deliver pink slips to those same congressmen and senators next November, just like they sacked Corzine tonight. He might even have nightmares tonight about having meetings with a Speaker Boehner or a Majority Leader McConnell. And he might just be a little worried that those conservatives will come back to Virginia and New Jersey in 2012 and give him his own pink slip.
UPDATE: Doug Hoffman has conceded. Over at RedState, Erick Erickson explains why conservatives still won in NY-23, and Third Base Politics argues that this election was a referendum on President Obama and the direction in which the Democratic Party is taking America.
UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin weighs in on why this is a win for conservatives. My favorite part? When she calls Dierdre Scozzafava “Arlen Specter in a skirt.”