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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 11/ 3/2010

One cheer for Virginia Republicans

By Peter Galuszka

At first glance, yesterday's election was an obvious rout of Democrats, with Virginia's Tom Periello, Rick Boucher and Glenn Nye losing their seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The fate of Gerald Connolly isn't known yet.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor easily won reelection, and with Republicans now in charge of the House, he'll likely be the majority leader, giving the Old Dominion GOP new luster in Washington.

The conventional wisdom is that popular frustration with the lack of job growth, President Obama's health-care law, growing federal debt and deficit,s and the expansion of federal government power, either real or imagined, fueled the drubbing.

But if one starts to dissect the voting, the exercise becomes a bit more confusing. Periello appears to have lost because he backed Obama on many issues, including health care. One reason Nye lost was that he broke with Obama on health care. Boucher, a 14-term veteran congressman from the state's coal country, seems to have run into trouble because he backed cap-and-trade legislation to control global warming. Perhaps, but real cap and trade is quite a ways into the future, and the boom, if any, in the state's coal industry is from exporting metallurgical coal to Chinese steel mills that would not be affected by any U.S. cap and trade law.

If you believe columnists at The Wall Street Journal, Cantor is responsible for the Republican victories because he helped conceive and lead a comeback strategy for his party. The "Young Gun" admitted the GOP strayed during the years of George W. Bush, though Cantor seems to forget that he voted with Bush on just about everything.

So, what's next? If Cantor prevails, we are certain to have a federal legislature that won't do anything. Cantor and his confederates will raise "the Party of No" to a new level, but it will still be "No." They will spend the next two years trying to repeal Obamacare, a long-shot because the Republicans did not take the Senate and Obama still has veto power. As for creating new jobs, there hasn't been much in the way of ideas on the Cantor front.

Another question is how Cantor will get along with U.S. Rep. John Boehner, who will likely replace Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. Don't expect a GOP lovefest. There appears to be tension between Boehner and Cantor, who somehow managed to leave Boehner out of his "Young Guns" book.

As for the Tea Party movement, it got on the political map by fanning frustrations with Washington, but it didn't have a complete sweep on Election Day. Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, for instance, was easily defeated despite support from Sarah Palin.

True, Tuesday was a Republican victory. But it was a limited one and did not give the GOP both houses of Congress, as their 1994 rout against Bill Clinton did. Virginia's new congressmen and Cantor's ascension do not spell progress, but two more years of stalemate.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Peter Galuszka  | November 3, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia, development, economy, education, energy, environment, faith, guns, health care, history, housing, immigration, public health, real estate, schools, traffic, transportation, weather  
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Comments

The only thing dumber than American politics is the American people.

Posted by: chorpophone | November 3, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

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