Red Storm Rising?
The two important items from last night are:
- What impact does this have on President Obama
- What impact does the results of NY23 have on the GOP?
Well, to answer item number one, I would respond this has a huge impact. Do you think President Obama was trying to get things passed too quickly before? You have seen nothing, there will be a lot more pressure now that there is a real signaling that President Obama's popularity is due to personal matters rather than policy matters. Does anyone believe if Corzine and Deeds (either or both) won their races the Democrats wouldn't be talking of vindication?
On item 2 and this one is the more contentious of the two questions I raise. Democrats are holding on to this one like a Titanic passenger holding onto a piece of flotsam. Was it a defeat for conservatism and does this mean the blue tide continues to rise? It was not a win there is no doubt about it but I think partisans from both sides are reading too much into Owen's victory there.
Dede Scozzafava is what most people consider very liberal, but she is a resident and presumably knowledgeable of the issues in the district. Hoffman, (according to reports I have seen) is from out of the NY23 district and Jim Geraghty has an interesting post on Hoffman's weaknesses as a candidate. Hoffman was not knowledgeable of the issues of direct concern to the NY23rd district and for what other reason do we elect representatives to congress for? Yeah, I want them to hold right views on taxes, medical care, national defense and so on, but they also need to understand about the things that directly affect their constituent's lives.
I have this notion that NY23 is like my district the WI-08. Most of the district is dominated by the local Republican Parties. If you want to win a local election in WI-08 counties you had better be a member of that county's Republican party. This means, if you hold leftist political views but want to become sheriff you need to join the Republican Party. It works this way in Democratic controlled counties too.
In addition, we see the country club effect too -- someone wants access to the business connections membership in the local dominant party confers. So you even though you may be a doctrinaire Democrat you end up being a power-player in the local Republican party. This sounds a lot like how Dede Scozzafava was tapped to be the candidate in the NY23.
While I would have preferred Hoffman to win, Owens is an improvement over Scozzafava.