Nov 03 2010

Election Reflections

Published by at 8:26 am under 2010 Elections,All General Discussions

Or the morning after headache (3:00 AM is such a long road to travel).

I, for one, did not wake up feeling enough was accomplished yesterday. Yes, the GOP won a lot of seats. lost no major ones, retired a lot of Democrats – many senior ones. But in the end, the Tea Party fell way too short and failed Main Street at the national and state level. I do not blame the Tea Party candidates, many of whom are just what we need right now – imperfect citizens storming the ramparts of the Political Industrial Complex. Sadly, that Political Industrial Complex is pretty strong if it motivate people to vote to continue down the same wrong path in the highest unemployment states like California and Nevada.

I think California is the biggest head-scratcher out there. They voted against two accomplished business women and instead went with two proven bad politicians. Of course the people there have been running that state into the ground for a decade now, so I guess expecting them to change course would be too much to ask. I mean who else destroys whole farming communities to save a silly little fish and sees nothing wrong with government? California has now put the accelerator down towards their fiscal cliff (lean forward folks, this is going to be a doozy). Their taxes will continue to rise, forcing more businesses and talented people to leave. Who would even consider immigrating there with all that debt and dysfunction? Unless you are from south of the border. So sad. But as someone tweeted last night (I think it was Ace of Spades) they are on their own. No bail outs from the rest of the country after this result.

Update: In CA not a single incumbent has yet to lose – that is what I mean about zombie voting. That place is best avoided.

2nd Update: Was lamenting to LJStrata about her one-time home state and she pretty much nailed it. It was a choice between “The New Hotness” from Ebay and HP or “Old ‘n Busted” Brown and Boxer. If there is no greater sign that California’s golden days are behind it, it was the choice for “Old ‘n Busted” yesterday. - end update.

And let’s get to the nut of it – Gallup was way wrong. Something is not right with their likely voter model. Same thing with that Field Poll which came out and predicted a huge GOP wave. I put a lot of weight on their results being close – and they were not. For some strange reason Gallup (and others) over estimated the force of the GOP wave.

In all fairness, something probably happened on the larger scale to halt the wave. Either people stayed home who said they were voting. Or the Dem GOTV is way superior than the GOP version. Or the GOP has to do something about the urban areas (the places where many of these states were lost). The GOP cannot just be a countrified, suburban and rural centered party. They need to break into the population centers, which helped the Dems hold on in CA and NV, etc.

Now for the headache part of the assessment:

(1) Obamacare will not be stopped for another two years. Our premiums and copays are going to rise – unless you have the political clout to win exceptions as many companies are doing for God knows what price. Most of us will lose our health care in order to go into government approved plans. And businesses will spend a lot of money complying with idiotic, one-size fits all health care mandates out of DC instead of hiring and expanding. Seniors will see their services cut back, and a lot more doctors will be opting out of Medicare/Medicaid since they don’t pay to cover costs.

(2) The massive Obama, Reid & Pelosi deficits will continue for another two years. The only way to even begin to chip away at them is for taxes to go up, since the economy will not rebound enough to increase revenues. While the Dems hold the senate there will be too much compromising on the libertarian side of the ledger. Tax hikes and wasted spending will continue, as we fall further into debt.

(3) The Federal bureaucracy will not shrink, but grow. There will be no course correction – we don’t hold enough seats. The EPA may be stopped from controlling nature’s most basic gas (CO2) threw investigations coming out of the House. But this investigative approach requires a deft hand. It requires an appreciation of science and math to expose the flaws in the global warming propaganda. The Dept of Ed will not be shrunk and re-focused. Nothing major will happen with regard to the major problem of bloated government.

I can go on and on about opportunities lost, wrong paths still being traveled.

And I have to say the Tea Party and Sarah Palin have really hurt their credibility in many ways. You cannot just pick candidates because they spout platitudes – they need to be accomplished individuals. For this I will compare the best and the worst of the Tea Party senate candidates: Joe Miller in Alaska and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. I came to like O’Donnell, never could admire her or see her as a leader. She just seems to float in life, pretending to have accomplished great things (and this comes from someone who could never lay claim to anything great outside our family – which is awesome if you ask me). Joe Miller, decorated veteran, lawyer, etc is a very accomplished person. I expect him to win in the end, when all the dust settles.

The choice of O’Donnell had ramifications across the board. Her foibles began to spill over on Angle, Fiorina, Whitman and McMahon. I feel so sorry for all these extremely accomplished individuals, because to lump them in with O’Donnell is unfair – but that is how politics work. After O’Donnell’s win something caused the electorate to hold back and recall the GOP’s high negatives from 2006 and 2008. I think O’Donnell’s win and questionable bona fides helped create that hesitation that stopped the wave.

While the Tea Party did have a lot of successes, their failures were of equal import. There is a reason Rubio, Toomey and Johnson did well and Buck, Angle and O’Donnell struggled. I still support Angle and Buck and wished their Main Street imperfections were more asset than liability in the eyes of the voters. And Fiorina and Whitman had no such problems – that state is just zombie voting apparently. Whatever the case, much more scrutiny on potential candidates is required going forward, and we need to watch out for someone who can take a whole group down by association.

And a much broader appeal is required too. Lots of hyper-partisans look to closed primaries and other ways to control the purity of their candidates. I think this is a death sentence. As I said before, the GOP needs to broaden out and penetrate the urban areas, while holding the suburbs. They will never get candidates with broader (yes, more centrist) balance if they keep their primaries closed to only the pure ideologues.

At some point centrists will be embraced again. We saw the potential of what could happen for a party if they moderated their hyper-partisan wings and allowed centrists an equal voice. And that means not shouting each other down and questioning motives when the debate is over HOW to achieve a goal.

It was a good night for the GOP and conservatives and a major thumping for the Democrats. But the real measure of power in DC did not shift enough. Sad to say this, but when it comes to making changes, you have to have enough of your team’s hands on enough controls to execute the change. Being a pure minority that talks a lot but does not have any important levers is nothing but fantasizing about accomplishing change. To get enough hands on enough levers you have to agree to common ground and some compromise.

This is a fact of life.

Update: Not surprisingly, Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard concurs with my assessment of where we go from here:

Republicans need to recognize that while conservative principles can win in America, they require candidates with broad appeal. Clearly, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Christine O’Donnell are not these kinds of candidates. The goal of the Republican party in the next two years should be to articulate the conservative case with an eye to persuading as many voters as possible. After all, that is how change really happens in the United States — it comes through building a broad political coalition that stretches all across the country. Conservative principles have won such broad mandates before — in 1896 and 1900, in 1924, in 1980 and 1984 — and that should be the goal of the Republican party moving forward.

26 responses so far

26 Responses to “Election Reflections”

  1. dhunter says:

    “Do not defeat Castle when the best you can do is O’Donnell.”

    Terrye, AJ

    This argument has been made ad nauseum but some of us believe that Castle is simply Coons but with the Republicans getting the blame when he bi-partisanly reaches across the isle and sells out conservative principles.

    He gets big time bi-partisan credes and Republicans get the blame for being unreasonable obstructionists while Dingy harry gets the win!

    Since the Senate wasn’t in play as we now can see we are better off with Coons in place than Castle.

    At some point someone must stand on principles not merely political expediency and now RINOs are on notice!
    Liberal policies are liberal policies whether promoted by Liberals with a D or Liberals with an R behind their names and they have always failed and will be rejected by conservative minded thinking Americans who are not on the public dole!

    Conservatives are the majority of Americans NOT D’s or R’s they are evenly split!

    Manchin won as a CONSERVATIVE!

    ODonnell could have too had not the Progressive Republicans thrown a fit at their favored Progressive losing a primary. The people of DE spoke and Progressive Repubs threw a fit and threw the State to the Dems.

    This isn’t on the Tea Party nor Sarah this is on the establishment elitist Progressive Repubs who threw this election. Castle could have endorsed but in his progressive way did not!

  2. Jinny says:

    Just some random thoughts… Last night I felt defeated and depressed because the Tsunami wasn’t as large and as wide as I thought it would be. Why did I feel that it should have been larger? Because of polls like Gallop that were euphoric about the Senate being taken by the Republicans. Hopes built to an unattainable goal.

    Upon reflection I realized that not taking the Senate but gaining seats might be a good thing. There are more than enough Republicans to keep the worst of the destructive legislation from passing. In two years there will be another huge number of liberal Senators up for re-election. They cannot blame Republicans for obstruction even though they will try. For years with slim to zip majorities in the Senate, the Republicans were blamed for not passing legislation even though they really did not have a majority with RINOs like Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Let’s see how a slim majority works for Harry Reid.

    Enough of this… AJ, you were right two years ago and still are correct, it was the independents who made the difference last night. Will the Republicans continue to do what the voters elected them to do or will they do the go along to get along which killed them before and will kill them yet again. I don’t know, I can only hope. On a positive note, last night new blood was brought into the House, an ex Army officer, Colonel Allen West and Marko Rubio in the Senate. They haven’t been corrupted yet by the pressures in Washington D.C. My son who lives in Florida tells me that Marco Rubio will be our President one day.

  3. dhunter says:

    Good Post Jinny (<:

  4. oneal lane says:

    I warned folks here about the echo chamber of the internet blog-o-sphere and over-expectation built on polls, blogs etc.

    The Democrat party has a strong ground game, in the end they will always pull things up tighter than the polls suggest in statewide (senate) and national (presidential) elections.

    The GOP power rests in the hinterlands and as such the ability to win house seats in sub-regional elections is more their strength.

    We did really well in the House and actually slightly better than I expected, so I came away happy. Knowing the above, I still harbored inner hope that we would somehow get the Senate too. If the elete wing GOP had really got behind some of the Tea party Senate candidates instead of working against them we might have pulled it off.

  5. WWS says:

    I concur with Jinny’s post – and I think I’ve got some credibility to make the argument, since you may recall that for more than a month I’ve been trying to make the argument that the GOP is actually in much *better* shape going into 2012 controlling the House, but not the Senate. Of course it would have been nice to have won some of those seats, but now it is obvious that the GOP doesn’t have enough power to enact their own proposals. That means a lot, since economically the next 2 years are going to be quite bad, probably worse then the last two no matter which policies we follow. Now, Obama can’t attack Congress without attacking his own party majority in the Senate.

    one of the hardest things to work around is the new reality that California is Lost. There is nothing that can be done to get votes their until it goes through a complete collapse, and that may take years. It’s actually fitting that dems will be in control when the riots start – they deserve it.

  6. oneal lane says:

    WWS,

    Howdy neighbor,

    I was looking back at some older posts and picked up a entry you made regarding your location in a Texas district just west of me here in North West Louisiana. I live about an hour east of Shreveport in a very very small “village”

    I do go to Shreveport quite often, mostly because of the resturants and guitar stores.

    Texas made out pretty well in the election? We kept our one conservative senator David Vitter, and for the most part did OK in the house. We did loose a moderate Republican Joseph Cao in New Orleans. He is an immigrant success story from Viet Nam.
    New Orleans, not unlike California, likes more of the same. The now have a crook to take the place of the crook William “cash in the freezer” Jefferson.

    Cao was a one term diversion. Once enough of the pre – Katrina population made their way back to the city, it’s back to more of the same.