Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Conservatives lose big

I don't give the same weight to yesterday's election results as some other writers. There were only two races that I actually cared about: the gay marriage repeal in Maine and the election in upstate NY. I was disappointed in the former and very happy with the latter.

The governorship race in New Jersey was supposed to be close, but it turned out not to be. Corzine, like his alma mater Goldman-Sacks, was deservedly unpopular, but there is hardly ever an excuse for voting in a Republican; nevertheless, people do it, as they did yesterday. The race in Virginia was touted as a test of Obama, but that idea was a creation of the media. The Republican McDonnell had been favored by a wide margin for a long time. The race might have been close if black voters had turned out for his Democratic opponent Deeds the way they turned out for Obama last year -- but no. This was a disappointment but not really surprising or necessarily significant.

I was a bit surprised by the passage of the gay marriage repeal in Maine. I was hoping that the presumed old yankee live-and-let-live spirit would overcome the "guns, gays and God" rural tendencies -- but no. Portland, Bangor and a few other cities voted against the repeal, but it was not enough to overcome the big turnout in the boonies and the French-Roman Catholic votes in places like Lewiston (I haven't seen detailed tallies yet). Too bad, but gay marriage has come a long way in the last dozen years or so. I'm personally against the state endorsing any kind of marriage. Medical and economic "rights" should be based on civil unions for everyone, with religious or other ritualistic "marriage" services optional.

So, finally, there was the truly significant victory of Democrat Bill Owens over conservative Republican Douglas Hoffman in the Saranac Lake congressional district of northern NY state. This district had gone Republican for over a century! It would have continued so had not the original Republican candidate, moderate Dede Scozzafava, been driven off the ballot by the conservative bullies Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, the "Club for Growth" and the National Standard -- also aided and abetted by pop politics dabbler Sarah Palin. Scozzafava's sin was maintaining a vestige of reasonableness on some issues like the stimulus plan and gay marriage. This is unacceptible to the conservative thought police, who launched all-out war on her. You'd think she was some modern-day Stalinist or Maoist. The Republican party may be reactionary and clinging to old, failed policies, but the conservative emirate is truly gibbering and totally out of touch with all but a sliver of corporate Bourbons and talk-radio ditto-heads. But that's not just my opinion: they directly and inequivocably lost a seat that had been safely Republican for over 100 years. They explicitly made it a test of their power and influence, and they lost. As I had optimistically hoped, even the people of this politically rightish district could not abide a bunch of out-of-state bullies pushing political purity.

This election was not a test of Obama, it was a test of right-wing political power: Limbaugh, Beck and company lost big.

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