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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.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  November 5, 2009; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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No doubts about it, the President has to think deeply what the results mean, particularly in terms of his supporters.

The level of energy and participation spoke loudly... cannot be allowed to carry over to 2010. He has much savvy as a politician, and will find away to get back to a promised agenda.

Of course, some progressives are clueless on how government works in Washington. They expect quick results... yesterday. Forget it-- that is not how the process works!

Posted by: Victoria5 | November 6, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Just like Nixon understood the silent majority Obama understands the silent majority now. They want the country to move in the right direction. As long as the Democrats follow Obama and the Republican's continue to shout and make threats, an improving economy will speak louder than the complaints of the fringe right and the country will be moving in the right direction.

Posted by: Gator-ron | November 5, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The real story will come next fall when it will become apparent that October was the bottom for this economy and things will be improving, slowly but still improving. That is what will matter and not all the stuff wrote about here which has to do with 2009 and not 2010.

It is very hard while things are so poor to realize that Obama in most areas has more foresight than most other politicians.

Posted by: Gator-ron | November 5, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse


Both Corzine and Deeds were exceptionally poor candidates. Corzine never connected with regular people and his failure to address high Jersey taxes sealed the deal. Deeds' shortcomings are well-known in this space.

Far more significant: Owens' victory in NY-23 and the splintering of the GOP by their grassroots Gestapo pitchfork people. If Levi Johnston hasn't already done in Sarah Palin, this should do it -- and, God willing, the results will deflate the gasbags Limbaugh and Beck.

On the positive side for the GOP, New Jerseyans have granted Chris Christie an exceptional opportunity to recast the party as reasoned and moderate. But Christie, a Bush "pioneer" and unabashed cheerleader during the Bush-Cheney Reign of Terror, should renounce his former political idol and embrace Libertarian positions on civil liberties and human rights issues.

He can start by reversing course on warrantless wiretapping, surveillance and cellphone/GPS tracking of innocent but "targeted" citizens -- the electronic backbone of a grassroots Gestapo that Christie knowingly enabled as a U.S. attorney.

Perhaps he can take some lessons from recent songs by his musical hero, Bruce Springsteen, whose lyrics scold those who have allowed "national security" to be used as pretext for an ideological purge.



Posted by: scrivener50 | November 5, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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