For whom the bellwether tolls
posted at 12:50 am on November 2, 2009 by Karl
The White House take that tomorrow’s trifecta of elections (in Virginia, New Jersey and NY-23) does not portend much for the future is spin, but it is not a complete fiction.
After all, New York and New Jersey are two of the most Obama-friendly states in the Union. Democrat wins in NY-23 and New Jersey may not say much more than that. Indeed, if Democrats win there by narrow margins, it may say that, a year after Obama won the presidency, it takes nasty three-way contests for Democrats to win in Obama-friendly territory.
The hope on the left is that NY-23 is a bellwether of intra-GOP warfare, or of the party being seized by “extremists”. However, most such fights will happen within primaries, which allows more time for unification. And few of those will feature “Republican” candidates as liberal as Dede Scozzafava.
The establishment media may try to paint Jon Corzine’s comeback as the result of “hitching himself to Obama,” but anyone who has followed the race knows that the only hitching involved was hiring Joel Benenson from Camp Obama to spend about $20 million on ads viciously and personally attacking Chris Christie.
The real bellwether election is Virginia. In 2008, Virginia was considered a bellwether — a red state that was trending blue in recent cycles, electing Gov. Tim Kaine and Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner. Barack Obama won in Virginia by 52.62% to 46.33% –about the same margin as he did nationwide. And yet, barring a massive failing by every polling outfit in the race, the GOP’s Bob McDonnell will likely defeat Creigh Deeds in the governor’s race, and the GOP will likely pick up seats in the state assembly.
The left has already started their spin that the Virginia election is not about Obama. But if Obama is not on the ballot in Virginia figuratively (as well as literally), that will be of little solace to Dems running in 2010 — when Obama will also not be on the ballot. Indeed, when you read Camp Obama’s anonymous dumping on Deeds, you find this:
A senior administration official said Deeds badly erred on several fronts, including not doing a better job of coordinating with the White House. “I understood in the beginning why there was some reluctance to run all around the state with Barack Obama,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about the race. “You don’t do that in Virginia. But when you consider the African American turnout that they need, and then when you consider as well they’ve got a huge problem with surge voters, younger voters, we were just a natural for them.”
In other words, the idea of Deeds hitching himself to Obama only started looking like a strategy after Deeds started looking like a disaster that could be averted only by campaigning on the notion that Deeds was Obama. That is fairly insulting to the voters of Virginia, who undoubtedly can tell the difference between the two men.
Granted, if Christie and Hoffman pull off wins, it will mean that the bell is tolling louder and carrying further than anyone would have dreamed a year ago. But Virginia is enough to confirm what Democracy Corps already discovered in their polling of swing districts — the reelect and issue numbers for Democrats are steadily eroding where it counts.