So it turns out that rumors of the GOP's demise were greatly exaggerated after all. Bob McDonnell, the Regent University grad and "extreme" social conservative (I read in in the Washington Post, so it must be true) wound up winning the Virginia governorship by the largest margin of any governor in Virginia history, and sweeping all of the down ballot R's in on his coattails. Meanwhile Chris Christie beat Jon Corzine's re-election bid despite being outspent 5-1 and President Obama campaigning for a Corzine victory in a state which hasn't elected a Republican to statewide office in 12 years. Christie won everywhere, in the largest margin of Republican victory since 1985. Doug Hoffman the insurgent Conservative Party candidate nobody had ever heard of until August narrowly lost to Democrat Bill Owens in a district that leans center-left, with RINO Dede Scozzfava winning 5% of the vote. What does all this mean? I think it means:
- Obama-mania is officially over. The places where Obama campaigned (both Jersey and Virginia) both gave their votes to the Republican by historic margins, despite Obama's large margins in both places in 2008. Whatever the current state of the president's popularity, it isn't transferable and this isn't 2008 anymore.
- Anti-Bush fervor has run its course. Time was, a politician could win re-election by simply making the case that he was not George Bush and declaring that he hated Bush and all his works. Having had their say about Bush, voters now blame the current problems on the current occupants of political office. Last night's vote had a strong anti-incumbent flavor. Since Democrats are now the incumbent party, this does not bode well for their electoral future.
- The "blue dog" Democrat is an endangered species. If Republicans can win in true-blue states like New Jersey, what must a red-state Democrat be thinking this morning? There are 80 Democratic Congressmen and 20 Democtratic Senators representing states that John McCain won in 2008. Personally, I think this election fundamentally alters the health care, cap-and-tax, son-of-stimulus passing calculus substantially. Pelosi and Reid may not have the votes they think they have, massive Democratic majority or not, because while Democrats favor all of these things, they like getting re-elected more.