Tuesday's message to incumbents
By Ben Pershing
It's the morning after the morning after, and already the conventional wisdom about Tuesday's elections has begun to shift. The initial reaction -- Republicans had a great day -- has shifted to this: Republicans had a great day, but both parties should watch their backs.
After much of Wednesday's coverage focused on the GOP's banner wins, Thursday's hones in on a broad-based undercurrent of anger and frustration in the electorate that could hurt incumbents of all stripes next fall. Associated Press ledes: "Voters' memo to politicians: We're angry and fearful, mostly about jobs and the economy. We want tangible solutions, not partisan bickering or intraparty spats. And we'll vote either party out of office if we don't think you're listening." E.J. Dionne picks up that theme, saying "the disaffection in Virginia and New Jersey -- and the unexpected narrowness of New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's reelection margin, despite his record-breaking campaign spending -- should worry all incumbents, particularly governors seeking reelection next year. And after their strong showings in the past two national elections, Democrats happen to constitute a large share of the pool of incumbents."
Of course, both parties have their internal problems now. So which to focus on first? The New York Times writes, "Republicans emerged from Tuesday's elections energized by victories in Virginia and New Jersey, but their leaders immediately began maneuvering to avoid a prolonged battle with conservative activists over what the party stands for and how to regain power." (Mike Allen doesn't think much of the Gray Lady's news judgment: "HOME TEAM -- NYT fronts story on GOP divisions, misses biggest story in politics: Democrats are the ones more divided now because of red-state fears that independents are taking flight.") Speaking of which, Politico reports that Tuesday's results "have congressional Democrats focused like never before on jobs -- their own." The Washington Post reports that "moderate and conservative Democrats took a clear signal from Tuesday's voting, warning that the results prove that independent voters are wary of Obama's far-reaching proposals and mounting spending, as well as the growing federal debt." The Wall Street Journal says Democrats are "scrambling to renew the coalition that elected" Obama after independents deserted the party in droves Tuesday.
Posted at 8:29 AM ET on Nov 5, 2009
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