Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Off Year Elections

There's been a shortage of political posts here lately. Sorry about that. I've had an enthusiasm deficit about the political circus: too many clowns, not enough trapeze artists in my humble opinion.
The pundits always say that off year elections are a referendum on the administration, and this year's will be no exception. Regardless of the results, the so-called "experts" will spend many hours discussing "what this means for Obama".
Allow me to disagree (not that my opinion counts for much). None of the three main elections today reflect on Obama very much. The candidates, issues, and agendas are quite different than those that decided 2008. It's a comparison of apples and coconuts.
The New Jersey governors race is a continuation of the unique political process that is "Jersey". John Corzine may be an incumbent Democrat, but he's hardly a liberal "poster boy" for Obama style politics. He's carrying all the baggage for a state government that is widely perceived as corrupt, and the only reason that this race is a toss up is that his opponent, Chris Christie, looks even more corrupt (shrubs AG scandal). Throw in a third party wacko, Chris Daggett, for laughs, and it's too close to call. But it's certainly not about Obama. Jersey's problems are bigger than which party is in power in DC.
Virginia's race for governor might look more like a referendum on the surface, but the results will more likely reflect the candidates than any agenda. The republican Bob McDonnell is already being touted as a rising star in the GOP, as he's (relatively) young, handsome, and glib. The democrat, Creigh Deeds, may be the most uninspiring, uncharismatic candidate in recent years. His speeches seem to have been written with the intent to hypnotize rocks, not to inspire voters. Given that Virginia is already a pretty conservative state, not even Obama has enough charm to make lemonade from this lemon.
Then we get the race that has has the most entertainment value: NY-23's congressional race. Not that any of the candidates really deserve a house seat, but it has been a truly bizarre race. The democrat, Bill Owens, is beyond "blue dog" conservative, but the republicans provided the real entertainment. The republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was deemed 'too liberal' (or sane), and forced to drop out by the conservative party candidate, Doug Hoffman, an incredibly uninformed, disinterested, tea party hero who's equal parts arrogance and ignorance. The wingnuts love him for that. Regardless of who wins, neither Owens or Hoffman deserve a seat in congress. "None of the above" would be the best choice, and should win by a landslide.
So, despite all the pundit bloviating, none of these elections will have any real impact on the Obama administration. None reflect political "coat tails" or the administration's agenda.
In fact it's not all that entertaining, even for a political junkie like me. Too many clowns, not enough trapeze artists. Maybe 2010 will have a better circus.

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