Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What Happened Last Night?

My, what a long, strange trip it's been. So -- what the fuck happened last night? Last night the moderates won, no matter how the Republican wingnuts spin things. Nothing reflects this fact more than the results of NY23 -- the only nationalized race of the night. From John Judis in TNR:

"The Club for Growth alone spent $340,000 running ads for Hoffman. With their backing, Hoffman pushed Scozzafava out of the race. She lacked funds or impassioned followers. But Hoffman and his supporters misjudged the district. When Scozzafava endorsed Owens, many of those who would have voted for her backed Owens, and he won the race. Upstate New York, which used to be solidly Republican, now boasts a single conservative congressman. New York, like New England, has become solidly Democratic.

"If the results of New York’s 23rd are placed alongside those of New Jersey and Virginia, there is a clear lesson for the Republicans. In New Jersey and Virginia, the gubernatorial candidates ran to the center. Christie is a moderate, and McDonnell at least pretended to be. And as a result, they got the swing vote of independents and moderates. In New York-23, a diehard conservative backed by rightwing groups repudiated the center and lost to a neophyte Democratic candidate who probably could not have beaten Scozzafava in a one-to-one contest."

Sarah Palin, who, arguably, had a lot to lose was one of the night's big losers. She was the posterchild for Hoffman. And Palin's pony in New York's 23rd district fell to the Democrat for the first time since the American Civil War.

Nice strategy. Still, the fact that Sarah Palin's imprimatur of the Conservative Party candidate may have been the proximate cause of the actual Republican candidate dropping out is quite something. Astonishing, really. Within the Republican Party -- and, though we won't admit it, among the Chattering Classes (Barbara, Oprah)-- Palin has what can only be properly construed as "the rib-busting ox-strength" (tm). I say this because despite her political influence, Sarah Palin is barely literate. She could not even write her own biography. And Palin's speeches are logic-free zones festooned with cliches, sports metaphors, military "tough guy" references and appeals to the basest of gut instinct (Averted Gaze). Palin speaks a language of disgusting voodoo.

But enough of Palin.

The lack of will among New Yorkers, who are supposed to have Herculean reserves of that stuff, was another of the evening's great stories. Michael Bloomberg won despite the ceiling to his popularity because he broke the trust of New Yorkers over term limits. He bought the election and was aided by incumbency, low voter turnout and a lackluster candidate who didn't really "pop" till late in the campaign. But that, of course, is no excuse for New Yorkers.

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