Nov 03 2010

Election Reflections

Published by at 8:26 am under 2010 Elections,All General Discussions

Or the morning after headache (3:00 AM is such a long road to travel).

I, for one, did not wake up feeling enough was accomplished yesterday. Yes, the GOP won a lot of seats. lost no major ones, retired a lot of Democrats – many senior ones. But in the end, the Tea Party fell way too short and failed Main Street at the national and state level. I do not blame the Tea Party candidates, many of whom are just what we need right now – imperfect citizens storming the ramparts of the Political Industrial Complex. Sadly, that Political Industrial Complex is pretty strong if it motivate people to vote to continue down the same wrong path in the highest unemployment states like California and Nevada.

I think California is the biggest head-scratcher out there. They voted against two accomplished business women and instead went with two proven bad politicians. Of course the people there have been running that state into the ground for a decade now, so I guess expecting them to change course would be too much to ask. I mean who else destroys whole farming communities to save a silly little fish and sees nothing wrong with government? California has now put the accelerator down towards their fiscal cliff (lean forward folks, this is going to be a doozy). Their taxes will continue to rise, forcing more businesses and talented people to leave. Who would even consider immigrating there with all that debt and dysfunction? Unless you are from south of the border. So sad. But as someone tweeted last night (I think it was Ace of Spades) they are on their own. No bail outs from the rest of the country after this result.

Update: In CA not a single incumbent has yet to lose – that is what I mean about zombie voting. That place is best avoided.

2nd Update: Was lamenting to LJStrata about her one-time home state and she pretty much nailed it. It was a choice between “The New Hotness” from Ebay and HP or “Old ‘n Busted” Brown and Boxer. If there is no greater sign that California’s golden days are behind it, it was the choice for “Old ‘n Busted” yesterday. – end update.

And let’s get to the nut of it – Gallup was way wrong. Something is not right with their likely voter model. Same thing with that Field Poll which came out and predicted a huge GOP wave. I put a lot of weight on their results being close – and they were not. For some strange reason Gallup (and others) over estimated the force of the GOP wave.

In all fairness, something probably happened on the larger scale to halt the wave. Either people stayed home who said they were voting. Or the Dem GOTV is way superior than the GOP version. Or the GOP has to do something about the urban areas (the places where many of these states were lost). The GOP cannot just be a countrified, suburban and rural centered party. They need to break into the population centers, which helped the Dems hold on in CA and NV, etc.

Now for the headache part of the assessment:

(1) Obamacare will not be stopped for another two years. Our premiums and copays are going to rise – unless you have the political clout to win exceptions as many companies are doing for God knows what price. Most of us will lose our health care in order to go into government approved plans. And businesses will spend a lot of money complying with idiotic, one-size fits all health care mandates out of DC instead of hiring and expanding. Seniors will see their services cut back, and a lot more doctors will be opting out of Medicare/Medicaid since they don’t pay to cover costs.

(2) The massive Obama, Reid & Pelosi deficits will continue for another two years. The only way to even begin to chip away at them is for taxes to go up, since the economy will not rebound enough to increase revenues. While the Dems hold the senate there will be too much compromising on the libertarian side of the ledger. Tax hikes and wasted spending will continue, as we fall further into debt.

(3) The Federal bureaucracy will not shrink, but grow. There will be no course correction – we don’t hold enough seats. The EPA may be stopped from controlling nature’s most basic gas (CO2) threw investigations coming out of the House. But this investigative approach requires a deft hand. It requires an appreciation of science and math to expose the flaws in the global warming propaganda. The Dept of Ed will not be shrunk and re-focused. Nothing major will happen with regard to the major problem of bloated government.

I can go on and on about opportunities lost, wrong paths still being traveled.

And I have to say the Tea Party and Sarah Palin have really hurt their credibility in many ways. You cannot just pick candidates because they spout platitudes – they need to be accomplished individuals. For this I will compare the best and the worst of the Tea Party senate candidates: Joe Miller in Alaska and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. I came to like O’Donnell, never could admire her or see her as a leader. She just seems to float in life, pretending to have accomplished great things (and this comes from someone who could never lay claim to anything great outside our family – which is awesome if you ask me). Joe Miller, decorated veteran, lawyer, etc is a very accomplished person. I expect him to win in the end, when all the dust settles.

The choice of O’Donnell had ramifications across the board. Her foibles began to spill over on Angle, Fiorina, Whitman and McMahon. I feel so sorry for all these extremely accomplished individuals, because to lump them in with O’Donnell is unfair – but that is how politics work. After O’Donnell’s win something caused the electorate to hold back and recall the GOP’s high negatives from 2006 and 2008. I think O’Donnell’s win and questionable bona fides helped create that hesitation that stopped the wave.

While the Tea Party did have a lot of successes, their failures were of equal import. There is a reason Rubio, Toomey and Johnson did well and Buck, Angle and O’Donnell struggled. I still support Angle and Buck and wished their Main Street imperfections were more asset than liability in the eyes of the voters. And Fiorina and Whitman had no such problems – that state is just zombie voting apparently. Whatever the case, much more scrutiny on potential candidates is required going forward, and we need to watch out for someone who can take a whole group down by association.

And a much broader appeal is required too. Lots of hyper-partisans look to closed primaries and other ways to control the purity of their candidates. I think this is a death sentence. As I said before, the GOP needs to broaden out and penetrate the urban areas, while holding the suburbs. They will never get candidates with broader (yes, more centrist) balance if they keep their primaries closed to only the pure ideologues.

At some point centrists will be embraced again. We saw the potential of what could happen for a party if they moderated their hyper-partisan wings and allowed centrists an equal voice. And that means not shouting each other down and questioning motives when the debate is over HOW to achieve a goal.

It was a good night for the GOP and conservatives and a major thumping for the Democrats. But the real measure of power in DC did not shift enough. Sad to say this, but when it comes to making changes, you have to have enough of your team’s hands on enough controls to execute the change. Being a pure minority that talks a lot but does not have any important levers is nothing but fantasizing about accomplishing change. To get enough hands on enough levers you have to agree to common ground and some compromise.

This is a fact of life.

Update: Not surprisingly, Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard concurs with my assessment of where we go from here:

Republicans need to recognize that while conservative principles can win in America, they require candidates with broad appeal. Clearly, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Christine O’Donnell are not these kinds of candidates. The goal of the Republican party in the next two years should be to articulate the conservative case with an eye to persuading as many voters as possible. After all, that is how change really happens in the United States — it comes through building a broad political coalition that stretches all across the country. Conservative principles have won such broad mandates before — in 1896 and 1900, in 1924, in 1980 and 1984 — and that should be the goal of the Republican party moving forward.

26 responses so far

26 Responses to “Election Reflections”

  1. ivehadit says:

    Aj, in my humble opinion, I don’t think Gallup is off…I just put NOTHING past those who take the absentee ballots of the disabled and elderly and mark them the way they want (dem). And school teachers directing their students to vote democrat while taking them to the polls to vote…AND George Soros’ Secretary of State Project…and on and on.


    Imho, in California and Nevada there is one word for their demise: UNIONS.

  2. Mike M. says:

    Cheer up, AJ.

    Here’s how I look at it. The Republicans picked up 60 (roughly) House seats. In any election year, there are 435 House seats on the table, but only about 35 Senate seats. Which means that the Senate gains should be in proportion…about five seats. The Republicans gained 6.

    Now, as to being able to Do Something. The Republicans control the House…which means that they can pull the finanacial plug on ALL Obama’s schemes. We can’t repeal Obamacare…but we would not be able to do so if we had 57 seats instead of 47. Obama would veto the bill. But if the implementation is defunded, it’s dead in the water.

    And the Republicans don’t have to negoiate much with the Senate. If they are smart, they will craft the budget bills in such a way that organizations the Republicans wish to cut are funded in separate bills…and if the Senate does not wish to go along, or Obama decides to veto the bill – well, zero budget is definitely a cut. Shut that agency down.

    Not to mention the power of holding hearings. The Congress is supposed to be the Grand Inquest of the Republic…and the House is perfectly capable of handling that task on its own. Sunlight will make the case for radical surgery on the bureaucracy that much stronger.

    As for the Tea Party movement, I agree that the big lesson is the need for better vetting of candidates. Picking someone with no record in office is romantic…but it’s not a road to victory. On the other hand, the Republican Party leadership needs to learn to stay out of the primaries. They tried to cherry-pick between two qualified (at least apparently so) candidates in Florida, and squandered a good deal of their credibility in doing so.

    In this regard, it’s worth remembering that the Republicans made massive gains at the state level. This will stand the party in good stead down the road, providing a supply of proven candidates.

    Ideologically, I think this highlights the strength of small-l libertarian principles. Live-and-let-live broadens the base of support dramatically. It does not require anybody to change their personal politics, merely to agree that the Government should stand aside.

    As for California, Heaven alone knows. Personally, I think the Republicans will refuse to bail CA out…and I suspect the Senate will not press the issue. Perhaps reversion to territorial status…including forfeiture of its Congressional delegation…

  3. AJStrata says:

    Mike M,

    Not all that down (more tired than anything else). I worry about the zombie voters in CA and hope that madness does not spread. I know how hard it is to change DC.

    Yes, the libertarian banner has to become the main stay of the GOP and conservative movement if it is to fight off the liberal left. One battle at a time. You’d think watching Obama’s distractions would have sort of been a clear example of what not to do.

  4. AJStrata says:


    Yep, the union strangle hold is keeping those beaten up and economic basket case states moving on the same path.

  5. dhunter says:

    “(CBS) Most of the candidates Sarah Palin endorsed chalked up victories Tuesday.

    And that scorecard leaves pundits wondering whether she’ll now train her sights directly on the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

    As CBS News Correspondent Jeff Glor reports, .the former GOP vice presidential nominee backed 43 candidates for the House. Thirty of them won, with races involving nine others still undecided. Special Report: Campaign 2010

    Her record in Senate races was closer: She endorsed 12 candidates. Seven won. ”

    Exit polls showed Coons would have beaten Castle also! What could have ODonnell done had not the establishment GOP (ROVE) attacked her unmercifully from the start.

    The answer to this problem of cities going Dem is being solved in New Jersey where a conservative approach has won the hearts and minds of a liberal state tired of the unaffordable excesses!

    Chris Christie is changing that state and others will need to follow but their pain has got to get bad enough to want change and illegals must be stopped from voting in our elections (California).

    The majority of Americans subscribe to conservative ideas, a balance budget, living within ones means. The social issues are best left to the states. Here in IA we voted OUT three supreme court judges for finding a right to Gay marriage in our constitution. This is and should be a states rights issue and that is where the social issues need to be decided.

    The Federal Govt overreach has got to be stopped and power given back to the local level!

    As CBS even says Sarah Palins power increased dramatically last night. She took on the entrenched Dems and establishment GOP and she won a majority of the time.
    California is hopeless and we must not bail them out let em sink!

    I hope Sarah runs she is the only one out there articulating the repeal and roll back of federal power and purse strings and she has right and left bloviating incoherently in fear.

    Sarah is a force they must destroy lest she wrest control from the D.C. insider elitists and return this country to its’ roots, We The People!

  6. AJStrata says:


    It’s not that most tea party candidates were good and won, it is how one bad, high profile candidate can taint the entire group.

    Look, this happens all the time in politics. You get a far left GOP member who defects and then all centrists are RINOs. You get one crazy Democrat like Kucinich and then all centrist Democrats are socialists. A few deadly illegal immigrants and then all hispanics are evil and taking over the country.

    This smearing of one bad apple across the bushel happens all the time – driven by hyper-partisans! This is why you vet them. Especially with a new movement trying to establish its Bona Fides.

  7. oneal lane says:

    The Democrat ground machine in the urban centers of America is very powerful. My intuition, and warning, was that in the end, Democrat block voters would show up in strength. A little food and some cash goes a long way in urban districts. This phenomenon held true and brought several Democratics through the storm, Nevada for instance.

    This morning I am pleased with the gains in the House and admit that the success was somewhat greater than I expected, yet well below the bloated expectations floated in the general center right blogosphere.

    As to what this all means.. for all the flash and furor I think the Tea Party is really nothing new, it is just a re-ignition of the old coalition that Regan inspired. Long disaffected fiscal and cultural Conservatives, and “Centrist Regan Democrats” have teamed up and had some success. They have just found a new name and identity, outside, yet inside, of the GOP. How will the Old line big government GOP deal with new – old fiscal conservatives GOP? I have my doubts. It is a very old difficult marriage.

    In the end the nation is still as evenly divided as before. Given the level of corruption and arrogance that The Obama-Reid-Pelosi government have demonstrated at true political Tsunami would have swept the Senate also. I am pleased but still dissapointed.

    Come what may we have a National Healthcare system now. Obama was smart, he went for the gold. No matter what else happens, he brought to fruition a leftish dream. In the short term they will, and have, paid a modest political price, they lost the House, That’s all, they lost the House and some Governorships. Loosing House seats is very common and expected in mid term elections.

    I am hopeful that the spirit of small government will continue to grow. Perhaps on day we can roll back Obamacare.

  8. archtop says:

    For me, as far as the Senate is concerned, the BIGGEST lesson is to somehow merge the tea party with experienced political minds so as to VET the candidates well before they become prominent forces in the GOP. Why can’t someone (anyone) just do a basic background check and make sure that there’s no baggage? Even if there is, you can have a plan to make sure any questionable statements of actions are fully disclosed and explained well beforehand.

    Colorado, for example, was a disaster that didn’t have to happen (i.e. Dan Maes vs Jane Norton). We desperately need conservative candidates with broad appeal.

    An example of a conservative with broad appeal is Kelly Ayotte from NH. She easily cruised to victory last night in a state that elected Jean Shaheen 60% to 40% just two years ago.

    Some people will carp that candidate thus and so is not conservative “enough” but I hope last night showed them that those sorts of litmus tests can backfire big time, especially is the alternative candidate is of questionable character.

    Alas, we must also come to grips with states like CA, where apparently no one cares what happens until they go under and require bailouts. Fortunately, our new Republican congress will hopefully put the brakes on any more bailouts in the near future.

  9. oneal lane says:

    Yes, California, what do you do with that bunch? Lease it to France?

    Another head scratcher, Barney Frank returns, insanity!

    It seems the Tea/conservative women are the target of most of the rage of the left. They did not do well as a group.

  10. grumpyguy says:

    Look, we won 60 plus seats in the House, 6 seats in the Senate. The Obama agenda is done and with 46 seats in the Senate and the lesson of this election will not be lost on Democratic Senators, the Republicans have a defacto majority there.

    Then, don’t forget where the real Tsunami hit, at the state level.

    We won governorships, we won state houses.

    In Ohio for example, Republicans won every executive state wide office, won back the House of Representatives, and increased their margin in the Senate.

    Without the Tea Party, the Republicans would still be in the wilderness.

  11. grumpyguy says:

    As far as California goes, let the Democrats own that mess. Whitman, imho, was going to be another squishy Republican like Arnold and definitely wasn’t going to a Chris Christie.

  12. AJStrata says:

    grumpy – the term ‘squishy’ gets you lumped into the peanut gallery with the rest of the hyper partisans. Thanks, but we don’t need that crap anymore when dealing with the liberals.

    The Tea Party was a libertarian movement. It does not belong to any one.

  13. dhunter says:

    Tea Party wins Governorship in FL, Sink concedes, Tea Party Patriots on a roll to return the power to the voters, the self reliant working Americans and away from the Established Political, Industrial, Media Alliance and Unionized Organizations!

    ALL of Florida is RED!

  14. MarkN says:

    Never forget… all politics are local. You need the right candidate for the right state or district. That is why the GOP establishment had the inside on the NV, CO, and DE races. They know the territory and what kind of a candidate is needed to win.

    I like archtop’s idea to merge the tea party with the political pros to come up with candidates that will win in a general election in a given territory. On the Senate side you need a person with experience and substance who’s positions match well with the general electorate.

  15. Terrye says:

    I think you are right AJ. People need to remember that the real job of an elected representative is to represent the people of their state or district. Sarah Palin is not the kind of person who has a lot of appeal in a place like Delaware..when she went in there with DeMint and helped push O’Donnell over in that primary..then the whole thing became about her and not the people of Delaware. Well, those people spoke and they did not pick O’Donnell..which all sorts of people should have seen coming.

    And Angle was weak, Tarkanian would have beat Reid easy, but the true conservatives decided that they were not going to let something like who lives in Nevada get in the way…they used the Tea Party to nominate the one Republican Harry Reid could beat.

    So I think the lesson is that politics like real estate has everything to do with location location location.

  16. Terrye says:


    The point is that a lot of those elections would have happened anyway. It is not as if the people of Florida can’t figure out who to vote for without the Tea Party express telling them what to do. The idea is to the pick the best person locally and go with them, use the resources of the Tea Party to help elect the most fiscally conservative and electable people…but don’t go into a state and defeat the establishment candidate unless you have someone better who can win in their place. Do not defeat Castle when the best you can do is O’Donnell. People reacted badly to that. I think it did effect other races, particularly in PA. Toomey pulled it out, but it would not have been so close if there had not been a Christine O’Donnell next door.

  17. AJStrata says:

    “Do not defeat Castle when the best you can do is O’Donnell.”

    Terry, you nailed it! Will do a post on this theme later today or tomorrow, but that is the essence of the misstep.

  18. MarkN says:


    Also do one on location, location, location. Rand Paul wins in KY. Does he win in DE? or PA?

  19. oneal lane says:

    Poor Christine, always the “scape goat” is required.

  20. dbostan says:

    I was toying with the idea of leaving CA, but now, that is my goal.
    This state must crush and burn, and it will for sure in the near future, before it may recover.
    But lives and families will be destroyed in the process.
    I am no longer willing to pay the union piper and feed the marxists in Sacramento.