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November 4, 2009

GOP Chickens Now Roosting

By Spear's

Palin’s attack on the Republican candidate Scozzafava opened the flood gates for a party purge and a near civil-war.

You can’t always believe what you hear, especially in politics. 

While the Republicans call their gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia a vindication of their policies and a referendum of dissent on Obama’s policies, don’t be so sure.

Yes, it’s a little humiliating for Obama that despite three trips to New Jersey to support fellow Democrat Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie still won. But then Obama put so much effort into Corzine because everybody knew Corzine was already deeply unpopular, which rather demystifies his loss.

Besides, such high-powered campaigning by bringing in the President to stump for you can sometimes backfire, appearing a bit too desperate, using big guns to fight a guy who had a lot less money and clout; it can reek of bullying, and voters often don’t like it. 

More surprising really was the Republican gubernatorial win in Virginia, where Robert F. McDonnell, a former state attorney general defeated the Democrat Creigh Deeds, wresting Richmond back from the Democrats with a decisive 59-41 majority.

The decisive factor in all these races were the independents, as a growing segment of the electorate now identify themselves. Whereas they overwhelmingly voted for Obama in last year’s elections, this year they voted by a ratio of 2 to 1 for Republicans.

Nevertheless, in exactly the same ratio they insisted at exit polls that Obama was not part of their decision, simply the candidates; but then that simply begs the question of how much you trust exit polls or indeed the veracity of what voters say to exit pollsters. 

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While Republicans are celebrating their wins in New Jersey and Virginia, they are licking their wounds in New York’s 23rd Congressional district, far and away the most amusing race in the country. Their fatal mistake? The zealots overestimated their popularity. 

After Sarah Palin’s attack on Republican Scozzafava opened the flood gates for a party purge against Scozzafava and a near civil-war in the Republican party, Scozzafava quit the race and endorsed her Democrat opponent, Bill Owens, polarizing the race between two extremes, much to the delight of Republican purists.

Well, clearly not to the delight of voters, or indeed the more moderate elements of the Republican party, for the traditionally Republican district has preferred Democrat Bill Owens to Conservative Doug Hoffman, leaving the Republicans looking a little silly.

Well at least that answers one lingering strategic question for the GOP: if you want to win big in the next elections, don’t go extremist. Also, they might do well to keep Sarah Palin on her overseas lecture tour for a while longer.

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