Elections; Democrats pick up seat in House

Keep that in mind when you listen to the bloviations about Democratic losses and a resurgent GOP.

All politics is local, Tip O'Neill said. This is especially true of elections for state offices. So, while the loss of John Corzine is regrettable (and New Jerseyites will come to regret it, just as Californians came to regret dumping Davis for Schwartzenegger), it says very little about national politics, despite Obama's intense (but late) arrival at the party.

Only two elections yesterday were to federal office, and the Democrats won both. In California, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi easily took a House seat in a safe Democratic district (Garamendi's victory was less newsworthy in California than the ridiculous announcement by Carly Fiorina that she has decided she should be the state's senator).

Meanwhile, in New York's traditionally Republican 23rd Congressional District, the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, bested Conservative Party candidate Douglas Hoffman after the Republican Party candidate, a moderate, endorsed Owens and pulled out of the race. Despite a flood of volunteers, donations, and endorsements by national conservatives from Sarah Palin and the Club for Growth to Tim Pawlenty and the Government Is Not Good PAC, conservative businessman Hoffman couldn't win in a district parts of which had voted Republican since the Civil War.

In so far as anything can be predicted from these mid-mid-term votes, there isn't much good news for anybody. The fact that Michael Bloomberg, who is generally well regarded in New York, could expend $100 millon -- he outspent his Democratic opponent by more than 10-1 -- to barely win reelection should give pause to candidates like Carly Fiorina or California GOP gubernatorial wannabe Meg Whitman who think they will be able to buy their way into office with much smaller fortunes. Corzine's loss in New Jersey suggests that anti-tax rhetoric still has the power to defeat common sense, making the likelihood that we will fix any of our long term health care, education, unemployment and infrastructure difficulties problematic.  And even if he jumped in late, his people have to be a little concerned that Obama may have very short coattails.

They may not care -- for them, political purity may trump political power -- but the fact that the extreme right can't win in a district like the 23rd doesn't bode well for their chances in more centrist areas of the country. They also may not care, but the Blue Dogs and the DLC should be worried that the Rainbow coalition that carried Virginia for Obama decided to stay home when the party nominated a status-quo conservative. Moderate Republicans, meanwhile, might as well pack it in. The only hope for traditional Republican pols like the 23rd's Dede Scozzafava is to switch parties now so they'll be ready to run as Democrats in 2010.

For sanity sake, we have Jon Stewart to keep the media in perspective:
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