Was the Election of November 3, 2009 a repudiation of President Barack Hussein Obama? Yes and no. It is pretty much a standard occurance for off year elections to go against the party in power and against the President, who isn't on the ballot. Only twice has it not happened that way. Those two were Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush. However, there were some extenuating circumstances in this election held this year.
The New York 23 race: A Democrat, Owens was running against Skozahfava (I have no idea if the spelling is correct). They were joined by a third party. Hoffman from the Conservative Party. A Democrat had not held that seat since 1850's. So Owens was pretty much a token candidate placed by the Democrats. The Republican, Dede Skozahfava, was even more liberal than Owens who is considered a moderate Democrat. A month ago, people started finding out about Doug Hoffman. Across the country we learned that the Republican was nominated by a group of eleven in the party in upstate New York, which is the district represented by this seat. The people didn't choose Skozahfava, a group of eleven chose her in one of the old classic smoke filled rooms. There was no primary in New York.
Doug Hoffman joined the Conservative party. A new third party begun as a response to the Republicans who, as we know, started spending as much as Democrats always have that cost them the House and Senate in 2006. Hoffman was unknown until a month before the election.
Hoffman received the endorsement of Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, and others. On the weekend prior to the election, Skozahfava saw the writing on the wall and dropped out of the race. She then threw her support to the Democrat, Owens. Owens eked out a victory from Hoffman. Owens appeared on the ballot twice. Skozahfava was on the ballot twice. She received 5% of the vote. Hoffman appeared on the ballot once.
Next year, this seat is again up for election. I believe Hoffman will run again next year and I believe he'll beat Owens in the election next November.
The New York election can't be attributed to Obama based on all of that information above.
New Jersey is a different story. John Corzine the Democrat incumbent Governor lost to Chris Christie the Republican. Obama appeared at 5 events for Corzine. New Jersey is a decidedly liberal state. They have the highest property taxes in the nation. Corzine has made a bad situation worse in New Jersey. He spent a tremendous amount of money. 3-1 over Christie. Yet Christie beat Corzine. This can be attributed to the poor governing by Corzine as well as the policies of the Obama administration.
Virginia is an impressive state. Both in it's appearance and its' attitudes. Bob McDonnell the Republican against Creigh Deeds the Democrat. I believe this is also a combination of the natural off year elections as well as a repudiation of Obama. The reason for that is the size of the blow out by McDonnell over Deeds. Had McDonnell won by 5 or 6 points, it would be normal, but a 19 point embarrassment must include the Obama factor especially since northern Virginia, a Democrat area, went so strongly for McDonnell.
In Michigan we had our own little election that was a blowout for the Republicans. In the 19th destrict, which is southern middle Michigan there was a special election created when the Senator from that district, Mark Schauer, won the U.S. House seat for the area.
This election had it's own little soap opera to go with it. The seat was vacated after the November 2008 election. Governor Jennifer Granholm decided to leave the seat vacant by not holding a special election sooner and allowing it to remain vacant for nearly a full year. The people of that area were not represented in the State Senate during that time. Mike Nofs (R), a former Representative in the State House ran against Martin Griffin (D), former Mayor of Jackson, Michigan.
In the past year, the former Senator, Schauer, who vacated the seat, was the only one that claimed to have read the stimulus bill back in February when everyone on the planet knew that nobody had read it. He was also given the largest fine for campaign finance violations in state history. In August when the Town Hall meetings were being held and making news, Schauer refused to subject himself to that and didn't hold any open town hall meetings on taxes and health care.
Michigan is already saddled with the distinction of having been in a one state recession for over five years while the rest of the country didn't fall into a recession until a year ago as well as having the highest unemployment rate in the nation for forty months. In addition, the Democrats, led by Governor Granholm raised taxes two years ago and said that we'd not have to raise taxes again, have been trying to raise taxes again this year, and failed to get their budget deal done by the September 30 deadline and passed a continuing resolution for another month where they have fought between deep cuts in spending and raising taxes. The Republicans have prevailed thus far and taxes were not raised, although they likely will be soon.
Noffs beat Griffin by double digits in the special election. This was a combination of tax and spend Granholm, Obama's spending money and the activities of Mark Schauer.
Lastly, there was also and underlying message to Republicans. The message seems to be that the Republicans have an edge due to the Democrats tax and spend, not to mention printing money like it was printing newspapers, but that edge comes with a jaundiced eye. Republicans are trusted more than Democrats, but not by much.
This is a center right country. Conservatives number in the 40% range where liberals are in the 20% range. But Republicans are being watched by people and if they turn out to be Democrat lite, they too are in danger of losing the seats they hold.
So was this election a repudiation of Obama? Yes, but not the entire reasoning behind the results of yesterdays election. Virginia could make the case that it was as Republicans swept the board there.
The fun now begins. Will the Democrats see the writing on the wall and still try to push through this takeover of the health care in this country? Will they still push to get this through and cause tax increases on every person breaking Obama's promise of not one dime of more taxes if you make less than $250,000? I guess the real question would be, are the Democrats that arrogant?
You're welcome to comment.