Written by Bob Steinburg
Democratic pundits and spin masters tried to put on their best face the day after the GOP's stunning victories on Election Day. Governor -elect Bob McDonnell led the way to a Republican sweep in Virginia while GOP challenger Chris Christie defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey.
President Barrack Obama had personally campaigned for McDonnell's opponent Creigh Deeds as well as for Corzine, making multiple appearances with both. The magic that was Obama's one year ago was no where to be found this time around. Voters rejected both Democrats.
Conservatives from both parties turned out in mass to support the GOP. Independent voters, who one year earlier played a pivotal roll in returning the Democrats to power, have, for now at least, shifted their allegiance back to the right. Exit polling revealed that one third of those who cast votes in Virginia and New Jersey were independents.
An October Rasmussen survey found that 30.3 percent of voters nationwide identify themselves as independents or unaffiliated; 31.9 percent say they are Republicans and 37.8 percent Democrats. Clearly neither major party can win without significant support from independents. The survey also found that 82 percent of independents feel that fixing the economy and creating more jobs should be the top priority of government.
Exit polling in Virginia revealed that 85 percent of voters are very worried about the economy, while 89 percent of New Jersey voters had similar feelings. Voters in both states by a margin of 49-21 expressed more concern about the economy than health care.
While the recent election results may not be a personal referendum on Obama, they certainly prove he had no coattails. That fact could have a profound influence on Blue Dog Democrats facing reelection next year, as they ponder their upcoming vote on health care.
The White House rebuffed any suggestion from pundits and Republicans that the GOP juggernaut last week reflected negatively on the president and/or his agenda. However, Obama spokespersons were nowhere to be found on election night as early returns began to suggest this would be a bad night for Democrats.
White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod, one of the administration's lead attackers of Fox News, interestingly climbed out of his trench the next day to grant an interview to the very network he has relentlessly ridiculed. Axelrod told Fox that Obama wasn't paying that much attention to poll results but rather remains more focused on the important issue of creating jobs.
October's unemployment numbers were released late last week by the Labor Department and the news is not good for Obama, the Democrats or their massive federal stimulus bill. The enormous amount of money spent to date was supposed to insure the jobless rate would not exceed eight percent by the end of this year.
Last month, the U. S. economy shed another 190,000 jobs. Unemployment now stands at 10.2 percent for the first time in 26 years. It is projected to climb even higher in the coming months. The $1.2 trillion health bill soon be voted upon in the House is a risky and uncertain move in this economic climate that very well may exacerbate job losses while inflating America's already staggering debt.
For a party that was supposed to be all but dead after their shellacking in 2008, this near corpse is suddenly showing astonishing signs of life. The GOP was thought by many on the left to be a relic that could only be a future factor in the Deep South where conservatism still reins supreme. Last time I was in New Jersey, I don't recall seeing any grits on the menus of my favorite eateries. In spite of those who interpreted last year's election results as some sort of seismic ideological shift to the left, its time for a dose of reality. America was center right then and its center right now.
The historic candidacy of a charismatic black American running for the presidency, coupled with the immense unpopularity of President George W. Bush, created an environment in which the stars aligned and the tea leaves predicted there would be change. Yet Obama's opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who ran a horrible campaign, still managed to lose the election by only seven points. It is reasonable to assume that McCain might have won had the financial markets not collapsed just weeks before Election Day.
In a nation where conservatives out number liberal/ progressives by two to one according to a recent Gallup poll, the ideological makeup of the nation hasn't changed all that much. Yet, Obama and the left are governing as if it has.
While the Democrats have made much ado about their victory last week by Congressman-elect Bill Owns in Upstate New York, it is worth noting this. Throughout his campaign Owens told voters he felt the public option had no place in the health care reform bill. He also said he was opposed to cutting Medicare benefits, taxing health care benefits and increasing taxes on the middle class. After his swearing in last Friday, his press release confirms he will do none of the above, shifting his positions completely. How is that for honesty and integrity from our newest Democratic member of Congress?
There is a revolution brewing in America and it's not being fought by those on the left, but rather those in the center and on the right. It is these individuals who feel they've been set adrift by the officers and crew aboard the floundering S.S. Ship of State. As she continues her list to port, Capt. Obama and those under his command had best heed the warnings to right the ship, or risk sinking to the bottom in next year's crucial mid-term elections.