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The Democrats get lashed

The most pathetic moment of Creigh Deeds’s sad campaign came toward the end, with a gauzy commercial invoking last year’s Obama campaign, featuring the tag line, “We can do it again.” Jon Corzine ran similar ads in the Obama idiom. But the mystical incantations of Barack Obama’s name did not perform miracles. It was like watching Democrats try to kindle a campfire in the pouring rain. In the end, they were reduced to mere nostalgia. It was not much of an electoral appeal: “We’ll always have Paris.”

Today, national Democrats are trying their best to dismiss missing limbs as flesh wounds. It is their job. But they are in deep trouble if they believe their own spin. Compared to 12 months ago, 24 percent more Virginians voted Republican at the top of the ticket. Independents broke decisively against Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey. If this is not a backlash against Democrats, then who, exactly, was being lashed?

These losses, for the most part, don’t seem to be a personal repudiation of the president. But they highlight a political fact -- the political fact of the last year. In 2008, Obama won a broad, but not ideological, victory. Voters endorsed his reasoned, moderate tone in a moment of economic crisis, not the sustained, ambitious leftism of his current legislative agenda. Obama has massively overreached. During a summer of town hall discontent, and now in Virginia and New Jersey, citizens have begun to render their verdict.

A few other lessons:

* Both successful Republican candidates were conservative, but not strident or angry. They benefited from an ideological backlash against liberalism precisely because they did not adopt a scary, pitchfork populism. McDonnell, whom I saw on the campaign trail, was uniformly respectful of Obama -- even while reflecting public concerns about deficits, debt and intrusive government. He also offered a positive legislative agenda on transportation and economic growth. The Republican Party clearly needs more genial, upbeat, wonkish conservatives.

* Democrats, once again, discovered the dangers of being the first to escalate the culture war. Deeds went after McDonnell on abortion, women’s rights and his ties to the religious right with persistent viciousness. But voters tend to punish candidates, from either party, who raise divisive cultural issues as the centerpieces of their campaigns. It was Deeds, not McDonnell, who ended up looking obsessed by abortion.

* Voters showed admirable maturity -- a refusal to be manipulated -- on a variety of issues beyond the culture war. Corzine’s attempt to tie his opponent, Governor-elect Chris Christie, to George W. Bush fell flat. Corzine’s classless attempts to call attention to Christie’s girth also failed -- not least because Christie is such a good sport. (Christie observed during the campaign: “We got to spur our economy…. Dunkin’ Donuts, International House of Pancakes, those people need to work too.”) Voters seemed to punish over-the-top negativity.

Last night, a message was sent. Now a question remains: Is Barack Obama capable of listening? All his amazing talent and skill come packaged with arrogance. Shifting his approach in a more centrist direction on health care or any other issue will not come easily. But it needs to come.

By Michael Gerson  | November 4, 2009; 9:19 AM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Next: Another casualty of the Virginia election

Comments

Excuse me,

Did anhyone see the name Sarah Palin here?

And does this twit think if he says something people will believe it?

I've read hundreds of thousands of blurbs after elections, working on three presidental compaigns over 35 years, never

but haven't seen any as DUMB as this one.

The Washington Post is truly showing itse'f this morning....and it's not
wunnerful.

Posted by: whistling | November 4, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, Gerson. Your boy in NY 23 shared the same wing nutty neocon fever dreams view as you possess, and he didn't do very well in a district where Democrats couldn't previously be elected to the House. I still think this country will turn to pragmatic realist governance over the turbo-ideological swamp fever of the wing nuts and tea baggers. You guys have spent far too many years listening to only yourselves. The messes in Iraq and Afghanistan are your true legacy. Enjoy it!

Posted by: osullivanc1 | November 4, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is back in la la land again, just like in the last years of the failed Bush Administration. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to NJ, except to see that the arrogant faux Democrat Corzine was extremely unpopular, but in Virginia, McDonnell still had to run to the left against a weak Democrat. Where is the sweeping victory in that? In New York, the flat earthers ate their own young and the Democrats won. That’s the lesson from these very narrow elections.

Posted by: ElectricBill | November 4, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Gerson says:
"Is Barack Obama capable of listening? All his amazing talent and skill come packaged with arrogance."

Indeed.

Instead of watching election coverage last night, Obama was watching an HBO special about--Obama.

Posted by: spamsux1 | November 4, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

This article nicely measures just how utterly desparate the Republicans have become: they've been so thorougly horse-whipped that they're reduced to reading tea leaves from the outcome of a whopping total of two governor's races, one of which is in generally conservative state which almost always trends against the incumbent party anyways.

No less significant, but of course completely omitted by Mr. Gerson from this piece, is that race up in New York where Owens defeated Hoffman, placing a Democrat into a House seat that the Republicans have held for over 150 years.

There are ominous portents in that outcome to which Republican strategists to which would be well advised to pay attention. In deliberately undermining the moderate candidate its rabid, unquenchable thirst for ideological purity, the party has just cost itself a reliably Republican seat.

If I were you, Mr. Gerson, I'd pay more attention to your own party's problems first instead of gloating about others.

Posted by: Gladiator2008 | November 4, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Truly, there is no more fatuous pussy in Fred Hiatt's village than Pastor Gerson.

Posted by: BDR232 | November 4, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

There Gerson goes again ..... delusional as always.

Posted by: Sonny53 | November 4, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I disagree. Deeds did not run a good campaign and McDonnell was a good candidate. Corzine was in trouble a long time ago -- people were fed up with him. The real story is NY. Carpetbaggers, teabaggers, Sarah Palin and her ilk tried to inject themselves into local politics, and you may not want to hear this, but people don't like that. Locals vote for the person and they don't want outsiders coming in and trying to take over -- that goes whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. They tried it in our state a few years ago and it didn't work.

Posted by: sharronkm | November 4, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

It's funny to see the diehard liberals attack the messanger. The people have spoken and they are not happy with Obama's leftist public agenda. This is only the beginning.

Posted by: Fontana1 | November 4, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Lick your wounds liberals. This is just the beginning.

Posted by: Fontana1 | November 4, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Huh? Didn't Democrats WIN two House seats last night?

Posted by: SouthernerInDC | November 4, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

No mention of NY23. Personally I don't care if NJ's governor is from Mars. Congress and the Senate affect me. DEMS +1 REPUBS: WHO CARES

Posted by: igo4it | November 4, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The real issue is whether Gerkin's eyes were closed when he wrote this predictable dribble. Most of his writing reads like he was half asleep anyway.

...zzzzz....GOP comeback...zzz

Posted by: LABC | November 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Obama was a repudiation of "Anything even remotely associated with Bush/Cheney". I really need Obama to step up and do something, or else we will have neo-cons back. Is that what you all want?

Posted by: swatkins1 | November 4, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"lashed"? The Repbulican's Southern Strategy lives own and the code words just keep coming.

For a man who has made his way in the world by the use of words your use of this word and its meaning is clear and abhorrent.

You are too clever by half and be sure to tell Lee Atwater he is right where he belongs when next you see him—hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.

Posted by: teoc2 | November 4, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

It's funny to see the diehard liberals attack the messanger. The people have spoken and they are not happy with Obama's leftist public agenda. This is only the beginning.

Posted by: Fontana1

----------------------------------------------

You know what else is funny? The fact that inbred buffoons come out in droves for an off year election to vote party lines as "repudiation" of the President in a state level race while most other people stay home. Then you gloat about it as if it's the Repub version of a coming tidal wave.

THAT'S funny.

Posted by: theobserver4 | November 4, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Any way you look at it, we Democrats got trounced. I can admit it. Perhaps time for a little reflection. Good luck to the winners, we'll be watching.

Posted by: shoveit | November 4, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Gerson: "Democrats, once again, discovered the dangers of being the first to escalate the culture war."

Are you serious? It's the Republican party that has defined the culture war and split the country in two. Abortion, race, gay rights and gun rights are the only way they have remained extant for the last 30 years and it's all unravelling before their eyes. In the quest for ideological purity, the party of tea-baggers, Creationists, global climate deniers and death panels widen the culture schism to their own detriment. Dream on, Gerson.

Posted by: IceNiner | November 4, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

This election proves once and for all that the American voter is blessed with a painfully short memory, and we deserve the government we get.

Maybe this group of newly elected Republicans have learned the lessons of the last decade - but my guess is their memories are just as short.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | November 4, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. Deeds did not run a good campaign and McDonnell was a good candidate. Corzine was in trouble a long time ago -- people were fed up with him. The real story is NY. Carpetbaggers, teabaggers, Sarah Palin and her ilk tried to inject themselves into local politics, and you may not want to hear this, but people don't like that. Locals vote for the person and they don't want outsiders coming in and trying to take over -- that goes whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. They tried it in our state a few years ago and it didn't work.

Posted by: sharronkm

-----------------------------------------

Agreed on all points. Deeds lucked out in the primary process and ran a lackluster campaign of negativity and 0 ideas. McConnell was able to distance himself from his own ideology and Deeds couldn't talk about anything else. Recipe for sure failure. Virginia will probably be in for a rough ride these next 4 years. I would guess that VA will become more of a purple state and be lumped with MN on a national level. To think that they were ever a solid blue after 2008 was naive. Maybe if NOVA keeps the VA name and the rest of Virginia picks up the title "farmland". That's the only way VA would ever be a solid blue.

Corzine.......jesus how did he end up on the ballot again. Christie wasn't the best candidate either, but I'm glad Corzine got tossed. I don't think there will really be any damage to NJ (hahaha) based on this outcome.

The ultra conservatives got their heiny handed to them which Gerson glosses over. Maybe we'll get a third party of fiscal conservatives and libertarian social attitudes out of this. If Limbaugh and Beck keep steering the ship they're going to hit the rocks.

Posted by: theobserver4 | November 4, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I think the NY race was the most telling. Hoffman did not win, but it was a very close race. Remarkable, because he wasn't D nor R, relatively unknown without the clout and mega bucks behind him. This paints an interesting picture.

Posted by: inmanorj | November 4, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

NY 23, Baby, NY 23

Posted by: gipper01 | November 4, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

If you want to look at races with national import, why ignore the two Congressional special elections?

In NY, a Democrat won in a historically GOP district (not to mention repudiating Sarah Palin's choice), and in CA, the Democratic candidate, a more pure liberal, easily beat the GOP opponent.

These two results tell as much, if not more about the nation's political vibe. I'd love to see some critical reviews of this editorial commentary, a la' the "next great pundit" challenge. Mr. Gerson, you could use a little criticism from your peers.

Posted by: megman | November 4, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

More spin from Bush's former Minister of Propaganda.

Gubernatorial elections say little about the national mood, particularly these two.

In New Jersey, an unpopular and ineffective incumbent (Jon Corzine) was not re-elected. No surprise.

In Virginia (at best a "purple" state), the Democrat (Craig Deeds) was a weak candidate who ran a lousy campaign. Whoop-de-doo.

Why don't I hear you talking about NY-23? That's the only race that has broader national implications.

+++

On a side note (Maine Ref. 1): A thin majority in a special election shouldn't be able to deny civil rights to a minority. This is just wrong.

In 1967, the Supreme Court deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, even though a large majority of Americans were opposed to inter-racial marriage.

The Supreme Court should do the same now. This isn't "legislating from the bench" but rather showing the backbone to do its job, namely ensuring fair and equal protection under the law.

Posted by: PaulG2 | November 4, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

You gotta love the tone deaf pronouncements of the likes of Gerson. Yo! Calling Obama "arrogant" and Cheney not tells the rest of the hearing world one thing: you think Obama is uppity.

That dog whistle may work south of the Mason-Dixon line; but it's the kiss of death for a party with any national aspirations: whites are a shrinking minority in the US.

My goodness, Gerson is an ignoramus. How does he get published?

Posted by: abqcleve | November 4, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Lashed?" Puh-leeze!

GOOD NIGHT FOR THE DEMS -- DEMS 8 REP 2 IND 1
For those interested in the unspinned truth...Below are the results of the major elections yesterday...

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) defeats Creigh Deeds (D)

New Jersey Governor: Chris Christie (R) defeats Incumbent Jon Corzine (D)

New York Congressional District 23: Bill Owens (D) defeats Doug Hoffman (C)

California Congressional District 10: John Garamendi (D) defeats David Harmer (R)

New York Mayor: Incumbent Michael Bloomberg (I) defeats Bill Thompson (D)

Detroit Mayor: Incumbent Dave Bing (D) defeats Tom Barrow

Cincinnati Mayor: Incumbent Mark Mallory (D) defeats Brad Wenstrup (R)

Pittsburgh Mayor: Incumbent Luke Ravenstahl (D) defeats Kevin Acklin (I) and Franco Dok Harris (I)

Boston Mayor: Incumbent Thomas Menino (D) defeats Michael Flaherty

Minneapolis Mayor: Incumbent R.T. Rybak (D) defeats 10 challengers

St. Paul Mayor: Incumbent Chris Coleman (D) defeats Eva Ng (R)

-----------

Oh, and "more centrist" on health care? Do you mean no health care, because that's pretty much what we have now.

Go take a cold shower, dude.

Posted by: ANKLEJIVE | November 4, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is beyond delusional- more like psychopathic. Here he writes "Voters showed admirable maturity -- a refusal to be manipulated -- on a variety of issues beyond the culture war". And tell us this Mr. Gerson, were the American voters using admirable maturity when Bush was scaring the Bejesus out of them with his orange terrorist alerts just before the 2004 election. Seems to me even Tom Ridge admitted to his involvement in "gaming the system".

Then you go on to ask whether Obama is listening, i.e. he needs to come to the center, I guess. Well I also recall your former idiot boss stating that he "has political capital and he's going going to use it". Put that in your pipe and smoke it you hypocritical jerk.

Face it, it was YOUR party's rule that created a referendum last year because the American people started to wake up! Don't expect Sarah Palin to be making any traction with the people in the center any time soon. I won't forget George Bush's legacy for a long, long time.

Posted by: dontblamemeivoted4gore | November 4, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Lashed."

How does that pass editorial muster from the WaPo?

Posted by: abqcleve | November 4, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah - A Democrat elected mayor of Charlotte, NC. Revolt in the House of BOA? That's big.

Posted by: TOMHERE | November 4, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to the GOP. But I can't help but believe this is a short term upswing in an otherwise downward trend unless the party starts aggressively recruiting a more moderate and racially diverse membership.

As long as the true believers in ideological purity run the show, the demographics of the country - more minorities and more urban voters - will dictate an ever shrinking base of support.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | November 4, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Just sent the following:

Dear Omsbudsman,

Today, the Washington Post published an opinion from Mr. Gerson which opens (including the headline), "The Democrats get Lashed

The most pathetic moment of Creigh Deeds’s sad campaign came toward the end, with a gauzy commercial invoking last year’s Obama campaign, featuring the tag line, “We can do it again.” Jon Corzine ran similar ads in the Obama idiom. But the mystical incantations of Barack Obama’s name did not perform miracles. It was like watching Democrats try to kindle a campfire in the pouring rain. In the end, they were reduced to mere nostalgia. It was not much of an electoral appeal: “We’ll always have Paris.”

Today, national Democrats are trying their best to dismiss missing limbs as flesh wounds.....Last night, a message was sent. Now a question remains: Is Barack Obama capable of listening? All his amazing talent and skill come packaged with arrogance....

***********************************

My goodness. How did that pass editorial muster? The uppity negro needs/got a whupping???

Please tell me your paper is above this level of discourse.

Sincerely,

Posted by: abqcleve | November 4, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the WaPo gets nothing but fantasy and hot air for the money they pay Gerson. He couldn't spin the NY 23 election results, so he just ignored them. Pathetic.

Posted by: mikehike | November 4, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"lashed"? The Republican's Southern Strategy lives on and the code words just keep coming.

As a man—of questionable ethics—who has made his way in the world by the use of words, your use of this word and its meaning is clear and abhorrent—and intentional.

Gerson, you are too clever by half.

Please be sure to tell Lee Atwater he is where he belongs when next you see him—hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.

Posted by: teoc2 | November 4, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the Democrats got lashed so badly that they expanded their majority in Congress. LOL

Posted by: skrut003 | November 4, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

WaPo I really really really want to write for your paper. Please, pretty please let me write - I can't do any worse than the Bushie who wrote this column.

Let’s see what impact does the election have on the WH? Oh yeah a +1 in the House.

Are we to take seriously a column talking about the Republicans wins and there’s no mention of loosing in NY – especially considering the endorsements?

Corzine has been in trouble for years – he was expected to lose. Deeds was terrible and deserved to loose.

The old saying about politics being local really holds true for VA and NJ but not NY.

Posted by: rlj1 | November 4, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Could this editorial be any more hackish?

Gerson ignores all other data points to breathlessly report that the two gubernatorial elections signal a Republican resurgence, and that Obama has overreached by -- wait for it -- doing exactly what he said he'd do during his campaign. As evidence for this, Gerson ignores the strengths or weaknesses of individual candidates, what issues motivated voters, what the reported approval ratings were for Obama in the two states (hint: >45%, which is to say that, if he maintains those ratings, he will be favored in 2012), and virtually every other piece of information that might tell us whether it was simply two individuals who lost or whether this was, in fact, a "lashing" of the Democratic Party.

In short, Gerson just really *wants* this to be a vindication for conservatives, even though he has no evidence for it. But, as they say, want in one hand and !!!! in the other, and see which one fills up first...

Posted by: davestickler | November 4, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Okay GOP, the ball's in your court. What are you going to do now? Good luck creating jobs -- your record is against you. Cut taxes (especially during time of war)? How'd that work out last time? Oh yes, not another Great Depression, just a Great Recession. History has also proven that "trickle-down economics" doesn't work, doesn't create jobs -- it only benefits the wealthy (but you all know that, don't you). Good luck to the American people with "the heck with you, I got mine" party in office.

Posted by: TwoEvils | November 4, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Republicans on their wins in the governor's races.

Given that I think it must be troubling for repubs that they lost a seat in congress in a district that has been republican for 150 years.

Governor's don't get a vote in congress, they cannot directly effect a President's policies (read Perry and Jindal).

The same amount of voters who claim Obama was an influence in their vote against the democratic candidate coincides with about the same amount of voters who will still admit they are republicans.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 4, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The dems always manage to bungle sure things whenever they get them. They have Congress and the White House and yet they still blow it. Why? They listen to the far left of their party. Yesterday shows America wants things in the center.

Posted by: FLvet | November 4, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse


If the Republican neo-facists spent more time worrying about Main Street Americans and less time conjuring up pathetic propaganda ministers like Gerson, they might not have lost both the Congress and the Presidency.

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | November 4, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow, look at how open minded the Post readers are. Anything that goes against liberal ideology is vilified, regardless of its validity. You are supposed to be the tolerant ones...at least that's YOUR talking point. It's the economy stupid, and I can't wait to hear the vitriol....but here goes, conservativism is better for the economy, always! Liberalism has other values, but even liberals need to stop trying to sell liberalism as a benefit to the economy... some can admit this (in private when no republicans can hear). They admit that there are more important things than strong GDP growth, like caring for the poor and needy. Let me have it you kind hearted, tolerant liberals :)

Posted by: member8 | November 4, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Okay Michael, don't get your bowels in an uproar. Virginia always votes in the other party after one party wins the White House. And Creigh Deeds was as weak a candidate as you could imagine. Corzine was an arrogant jerk (personalities matter) who presided over a state that was so corrupt that rabbi's were being perp-walked. They both deserved to lose. But in upstate NY the Limbaugh-Palin megaphone syndicate helped hand a conservative district to the Democrats. That's a good sign that just maybe rightist blowhardism isn't as strong a force as it appears from all of the noise. This media madness over the perpetual campaign mentality of our two underacheiving parties is really a big part of the problem. Try to contain yourself or get a job with Politico and that wide-eyed, overexcited guy that does the little 15 second slots on the local news like he's actually saying something.

Posted by: curtb | November 4, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Gerson,

Why does a weak local candidate give you joyful hopes of doom for Obama?? In Va, a clumsy marketing campaign couldn't help a clumsy Democrat. I had to endure way too many commercials for Deeds, all of them painful and negative. McDonnell had the best ads but I still don't trust the guy.

You are deceiving yourself but nobody else.

Posted by: 1observer | November 4, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Mikey, you delusional idiot. . . .
Virginia has a message, but it's not that Republicans are back. As a former Virginian, I followed the races there fairly closely from the primaries to the end. McAuliffe and Moran, either of whom might have won the general election, canceled each other out in the primary and handed the nomination to Deeds, a guy who had already lost a statewide race because he was a weak candidate. The progressive wing of the party had two choices: to hold its collective nose and support Deeds (albeit without much enthusiasm) or stay home. My guess is that they stayed home; I would have.

What does this mean for 2010 and 2012? Nothing that it didn't mean on Monday. The President has to carry on the work he has begun. Polls are showing that most Americans want health care reform with a public option. Whether they get it or not, they are likely to punish at the ballot box those who opposed it in Congress. They want compensation reform on Wall Street and elsewhere so that executives who drive their companies into the ground don't walk away from their messes with millions. Whether they get it or not, those who oppose it will be punished at the ballot box. Above all, if the economy grows stronger, the administration will get credit, as they should.
Look at NY23, Mikey. The wingnut there lost.

Posted by: jlhare1 | November 4, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Well now. If these voters were ONLY voting for a party, then perhaps you can make these inferences. But just as your democrat counterparts - you grasp at straws.

I'm not saying that party hacks don't vote. But could it be that local voters , *especially* independents, were voting for an individual whom they felt would best serve their local needs and not just a party?

I know it would be groundbreaking if that occurred... after all we are just mindless party drones.

Personally I weigh the pros and cons of all candidates and decide my vote in this manner. It takes time, discipline and effort to make an informed decision. Checking all the R's or D's on a ballot takes nothing more than accepting drone status and a willingness to be led by the nose.

If you cast a vote against a local representative because you disapprove of someone else (aka someone who isn't running)... that decision doesn't follow a rational course, nor does it move to serve your local government appropriately.

Repubs built this story up, the dems scaled it down, and now that its over you both scrape thin air to puff your chests.

Amusing, really.

Posted by: trident420 | November 4, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

A backlash is when across the country one party loses dozens of offices and there is a general perception that the that party is clueless. The defeat of 1 inept Gov. and 1 clueless campaigner is exactly what it appears. Two losers who lost. The rest of this is one desperate party (i.e to the slower ones Republican) desperatly looking for some good news in the wreckage of their party. Take a harder look at the dist 23 election in NY State. That's what we have to look forward to, fratricide and internal war as conservatives oust moderates. The perfect recipe for an ongoing GOP disaster on a national scale.

Posted by: kchses1 | November 4, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The only thing this election proves is partisans will see the results they want to see. "Democrats get lashed," yet a Congressional district that has been Repbublican for 160 years went Democratic yesterday despite (or because of?) the participation of Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, Armey, Pawlenty, et.al. Meanwhile Democrats will tell you that the New Jersey race has no meaning with regard to Obama's popularity despite his many appearances on Corzine's behalf. Of course, saying "this is a win for conservatives" or "this is a win for Democrats" makes for more compelling reading than "only time will tell what this means."

Posted by: Gutavo | November 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Compared to 12 months ago, 24 percent more Virginians voted Republican at the top of the ticket."
*******

This is factually incorrect. 24% more *of the voters who cast ballots* voted Republican- 47% fewer Virginians voted, period. This was a particularly dispassionate election in which the only people who were "fired up" about either candidate were the right wing cranks who thought this race was about impeaching Obama.

Posted by: squier13 | November 4, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

If the House Democrats are thrown out in 2010, then Obama might be pulled to the center just like Clinton was. Right now, even if he wants to be a centrist, he can't. Not with the Congress he has.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | November 4, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

NY 23 was the real story last night. A carpetbagging wing nut was rejected by a district that always votes in a Republican congressperson. Armey, Palin and all the tea baggers should take note before they try and destroy Crist which I'm sure is their next target.

Posted by: creatia52 | November 4, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, your column is....................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: monel7191 | November 4, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, look at how open minded the Post readers are. Anything that goes against liberal ideology is vilified, regardless of its validity. You are supposed to be the tolerant ones...at least that's YOUR talking point. It's the economy stupid, and I can't wait to hear the vitriol....but here goes, conservativism is better for the economy, always! Liberalism has other values, but even liberals need to stop trying to sell liberalism as a benefit to the economy... some can admit this (in private when no republicans can hear). They admit that there are more important things than strong GDP growth, like caring for the poor and needy. Let me have it you kind hearted, tolerant liberals :)

Posted by: member8

****************************************

Someone get out the wafers and wine trickle down economics will feed the country if we only hand all our money to less than 1% of the population. You might have been sleeping for the last 30 years Rip Van Winkle, but we've been running conservative economics for the last 35 years and we almost had the Great Depression Part Deux.

In fact we could still fall into that hole despite all the aid provided by gov't to keep us off the ledge because the private sector took the money and still doesn't want to hire Americans. They'd prefer slave labor overseas and a mailing address in Bermuda.

We can either have a system that rewards work and upward mobility or we can have an old boys club and low taxes on dividends. Reagan/Greenspan's way bankrupted the Russians and eventually us.

Posted by: theobserver4 | November 4, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I guess it helps the author make his point when he ignores the third big race in New York's 23rd district. Maybe the two gubernatorial races were a slap in Democrat's faces, maybe not. Plenty of the talking heads are saying that these races were more about local issues. Leftys like Pat Buchannon included. Maybe, maybe not. We'll see in 2010, until then its all talk and talk is cheap.

The one big ideological race was in the 23rd district. The summer of discontent people were rejected in favor of a Democrat in a district that has voted republican for decades, possibly more than a century. The movement turned out to be a paper tiger despite Sarah Palin and a slew of national wingnut celebrities pushing hard for victory.

Now when republicans find ways to delay and obstruct healthcare reform, the Democrats will have another vote if it goes past January. As far as Democrats are concerned, does this even larger majority do anything in the way of strengthening your wobbly backbones? Might you now possibly stop bargaining away the best parts of reform to a party that represents 19 percent of the American people. That 19 percent will continue to shrink as people like Ms Scozzafava are treated poorly by the fanatics. They'll find themselves welcome by the opposition and they'll certainly be treated more politely.

Posted by: fredfawcett | November 4, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

NY-23 was represented by a democrat from 1989-1993. It voted for Obama by 5%.

There will be another election in less than a year in NY23. By then, Bill Owen will have enough stupid votes with Nancy Pelosi that he will not win reelection.

Bill Owen only beat a 3rd party candidate who didn't live in the district by 3%. If that is what is making democrats happy today, then you really don't get it.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | November 4, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Last night, a message was sent. Now a question remains: Is Barack Obama capable of listening? All his amazing talent and skill come packaged with arrogance. Shifting his approach in a more centrist direction on health care or any other issue will not come easily. But it needs to come."
Obama is a clever politician, loaded with hubris and hasn't any real knowledge of how to create jobs, because he never really had one. He doesn't understand business because he never owned one. He doesn't understand the military because he never served. He doesn't understand that raised taxes and government bureaucracies that smother private industry is anathema to America and its survival.
He is a foolish socialist, with a very high I.Q. and loads of charisma. He is killing America bill by bill action by action. He is going to be the worst president U.S. history.

Posted by: mharwick | November 4, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Good column!

Posted by: bert1941 | November 4, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Some "backlash." If Kaine wasn't barred from a second term, and NJ Dems had talked Corzine out of seeking a second term, the result of both races would have reversed, and GOPers would have hung Michael Steele from a sour apple tree. But none of this can be seen past the fetuses-first blinders worn by the Rev. Mike.

Posted by: misterjrthed | November 4, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, stop and think before you write another article. Or maybe Palin will let you use her Ghost Writer... Her base and your base are the same...you haven't learned from your past.

Posted by: lindarc | November 4, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"The real story is NY. Carpetbaggers, teabaggers, Sarah Palin and her ilk tried to inject themselves into local politics, and you may not want to hear this, but people don't like that. Locals vote for the person and they don't want outsiders coming in and trying to take over -- that goes whether you are a Republican or a Democrat."

What world do you live in? NY has elected Hilary Clinton and Robert Kennedy, both carpet baggers. Get real.

Posted by: mipost1 | November 5, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

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