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The Meaning of Election 2009 and Grading Obama's First Ten Months

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Steven Leser     Permalink
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As it stands, it looks like Republicans have won the Governor's mansions in New Jersey and Virginia, while the Maine amendment targeting the right for gays to marry has passed and a Democrat won the congressional race in New York's 23rd congressional district.

Speaking of the Democratic candidates in New Jersey and Virginia, they were so unpopular that Democrat Corzine from New Jersey was quietly asked not to run for re-election by the DNC and by the Obama administration. They knew he had no chance. Ultimately, Obama tried to help Corzine, but you cannot help someone who has the popularity of swine flu. There is no referendum on Obama here. An MSNBC exit poll showed that 19% of New Jersey voters voted to send a positive message to the President, 19% voted to show a negative message to the President and for 60%, the President was not a factor in their decision. A CNN poll showed similar results in Virginia.Regarding Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, he ran such a poor campaign that Obama administration officials took the unusual step of criticizing his campaign a few weeks before the election. The only surprising thing about these races was that the margins of victory were not larger. That Christie's victory was only about 5% against such an unpopular incumbent says a lot about Christie. I'm looking forward to Christie and McConnell reminding people why you shouldn't vote for Republicans.

A Democrat won a congressional seat in a heavily Republican district, and Republicans won two gubernatorial races against Democratic candidates so personally unpopular, about the only person living in the United States who might, and again I say MIGHT, not have beaten them is Charles Manson.

By the way, it's a little off the radar, but Charlotte, North Carolina elected a Democratic mayor for the first time in 22 years. If there was a shift in purple or red states away from Democrats and toward Republicans, one would hardly expect to see something like this.

Taking this all into account, I'd say this is a minor Democratic/Liberal/Progressive victory. The biggest story is that Republicans are still showing weakness in congressional races that district demographics indicate they should be winning big and they have started fighting amongst themselves. In the event you haven't heard this, the Republican nominee in New York's 23rd congressional district, Dede Scozzafava, was essentially pushed out of the race by an ultra-conservative candidate who got the support of folks like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Dick Armey. This is a pattern that is repeating around the United States as right wing conservatives are attempting to drive more moderate Republicans out of office and out of the party. Message threads on Free Republic are full of comments encouraging this. The Wingnuts on the right have seemingly forgot that shrinking your tent isn't the best prescription for assembling winning electoral margins. Let's not do a lot to remind them.

This war between the conservatives and the moderates in the GOP is about what I expected to see when I wrote this article seven months ago "Republican Party and its upcoming Civil War" -

Two final arguments to the Republicans who I know are going to criticize my analysis. Do you remember election 2001? In 2001, Democrat Jim McGreevey won the Governor's mansion in New Jersey and Democrat Mark Warner won in Virginia. While much was made of the victories at the time, the effect was negligible or zero. Republicans still won seats in the 2002 congressional races. Republican George W. Bush still won Virginia in 2004 and was termed the winner of the 2004 election. Finalargument #2 is, if the Republicans won election 2009, how many seats in the house did they pick up? Here is a hint, you have to go into negative numbers to answer that question.

Obama's first ten months is chock full of accomplishments

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While some activists complain that President Obama hasn't achieved the entire progressive agenda in his first 10 months (actually, they were complaining that the entire agenda hadn't been achieved in his first 60 days), the administration has quietly racked up achievements. The Wall Street Journal (See ), recounted the following accomplishments:

  • Jane 29, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act gave workers more time to sue employers for wage discrimination
  • Feb 4, The government children's health insurance program is renewed for 4 1/2 years and expanded to cover 4 million more children.
  • Mar 30, The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act designated millions of acres of federal land as wilderness.
  • June 22, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA power to regulate tobacco products
  • Oct 28, The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act widens federal hate crimes law to cover sexual orientation and gender.

I would add to this that President Obama has opted to release a full list of all White House visitors AND has deployed and other initiatives to increase the transparency of government.

If we look internationally, we are engaging in official diplomatic contacts with Iran for the first time since the 1979 revolution. We've started withdrawing troops from Iraq. We've signed a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia.

One of my good friends on Democratic Underground has her own list of accomplishments that can be read here

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Suddenly, we have a Democratic President who has a good list of accomplishments for their first ten months in office. I'm sure that the list won't be big enough or fast enough for some but the list of accomplishments is there now and it is substantial and cannot be pooh-poohed away. Obama gets a B+ so far for progress. If we add the passage of Health Care Reform to that package and the economy is seen to be turning the corner on jobs, that would go up to an A+ and you would have to think elections will shape up favorably over the next seven years for Obama and the Democrats.

A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)

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