I can’t really blame the Republicans for getting excited about last night’s election results. Lord knows they are desperate for some good news after getting their clocks cleaned in the last several elections.
But one thing should be made clear about this election. While Republicans may have won two big gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey, the clear losers in this election were the Teabaggers. No matter how they want to spin this on rightwing radio, Nancy Pelosi now has an even bigger majority in Congress than she did the day before. Democrats won a congressional district in upstate New York (23rd) that they had not won since the Civil War. They also held onto a Democratic district in California, replacing a moderate-conservative Democrat with a decidely more progressive Democrat.
The California contest got hardly any attention at all because all eyes were focused on the NY23 race after Sarah Palin swooped in an annointed independent Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman as the Teabagger favorite over the mainstream Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava. The Teabaggers then went to work villifying Scozzafava because of her pro-choice views and her position on gay unions. Things got so bad that Scozzafava ended up dropping out of the race three days before the election and endorsed her Democratic opponent Bill Owens.
But all the fawning media attention, the gobs of money (95 percent from out of the district) and the backing of nearly every prominent rightwinger in the country was not enough to lift Hoffman to victory on election day. For some reason, the voters in the 23rd District did not support a candidate who lived outside the district, knew nothing about the issues impacting the district and got most of his financial support from outside the district. Imagine that!!!
But Republicans can still celebrate their victory in Virginia where conservative Republican Robert McDonnell trounced his hapless Democratic opponent. And there was no question that McDonnell was a conservative, however, he did not invite Palin or any of the other Teabagger crowd to come out and campaign for him and he made every effort to downplay his far right views and hew to a more mainstream position.
In New Jersey, where Republican Chris Christie ousted the unpopular Democratic incumbent John Corzine, it would seem to be another big victory for the GOP. But before the Teabaggers start celebrating, they ought to check out Christie’s positions on some of their key issues. On abortion, Christie says he is “pro-life,” but then goes on to stress that he will not force his views onto anyone else as governor. Not exactly the kind of message Teabaggers like to hear. Then, on gun rights, Christie says he fully supports and backs New Jersey’s gun laws. I will let everyone guess how those might compare to laws in Texas and Oklahoma. Finally, on illegal immigration, Christie says he does not think it should be a criminal issue, only a civil one. Oh, and he supports civil unions for gay couples too. Sure sounds like the Teabaggers could have condemned Christie just as harshly as they did Scozzafava. The fact that they did not is probably due to either ignorance or hypocricy or both.