Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Did the Elections slap down Obama?

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.



Nameless Cynic said...

Well, I'll admit that you have an extremely fair review of the Hoffman results, but I think you're just a little hyperbolic on the results. You're painting this as a giant victory for the forces of conservatism, when really, this is just the regular ebb and flow of the electoral process.

Look at the bigger picture for a second. Really, until you get down in the trenches, what happened was that the Democrats gained two new House members, while the Republicans picked up two governors.

Or look at it this way: in New Jersey, where Republican Christie won with 49% of the vote, 57% of voters in exit polls say they approve of the job Barack Obama is doing. In Virginia, where Republican Bob McDonnell won with 59% of the vote, Obama had a 52% approval rating. That means that, at the very least, a good number of independent voters who voted for a Republican, approve of Obama.

Maybe this just shows two things.

One, when the economy is down, the incumbent tends to take a hit.

And two, off-season elections tend to go to the party out of power. Because these elections are sparsely-attended, and only the "true believers" are guaranteed to go. The party in power tends to sit back and relax, sometimes to their detriment.

Brett said...

Normally, when someone responds I let their comments stand on their own so they get their say as well. But I have to differ with you abit.

Look back at the beginning of what I wrote. I mentioned that off year elections go to the party out of power, or, I believe I said "against" the party in power, or against the Presidents party and I mentioned that there were two exceptions. FDR and G.W. Bush.

I don't know if you watched the coverage last night. I am not a fan of television and you're hard pressed to catch me watching it with two exceptions. I'm an NCIS fan and another program that is not currently on. Since NCIS was on last night, I didn't watch much of the coverage until after 9:00. I flipped back and forth between Fox and CNN.

On both, they kept saying that New Jersey was too close to call and one of them, I believe it was Fox, said that they didn't think they'd get the results of the New Jersey race until the wee hours of the morning. About ten minutes after I heard that Fox called New Jersey for Christie and CNN followed about ten minutes after that.

My point here is that I don't believe polls. First of all, polls are askew because of how they ask the questions. Second, polls are only asking people's opinions which they form from watching the news which are usually the ones commissioning the polls.

An example: The news reports that I cut my grass every week. Each week, they say that I cut my grass. But one week, the weather was so dry that the grass didn't need cutting so I skipped it. But the news still showed my yard and that it was green and not overgrown. After a month, they do a poll asking how often I do cut my grass and how often I should cut my grass. Based on the news reporting, the majority in the poll say that I cut my grass weekly. So I put zero credibility to polls. If you look back in my blog archives from about a year ago, I think I wrote something about polls and how I think they are silly.

Exit polls are abit different. I believe that they just ask who someone voted for, then ask what the reason is, or they give a choice, such as "did you vote that way due to Obama".

Over the past few years, these polls have been off. I don't know if people are lying when they respond to these exit polls or if it's a prerequisite for these polls to always be wrong.

We usually hear that one or another of the pollsters got it right while everyone else was wrong. Lately, the two most accurate have been the Zogby poll and the Rasmussen poll. But again, they are just polls and I don't give them any credibility at all. I also don't trust the reporting done by the mainstream media. They are all slanted one way or another.

So I look at the results that come in and look at where those results are coming from. Virginia has been a more Conservative state until the last election. Even though they've elected the last two governors from the left, and put in two liberal Senators, I still don't get the impression that the state has gone completely liberal or blue. That's just my opinion and if you disagree, I'm good with that. But I'm sticking to my opinion until I see something different that causes me to change my opinion.

Virginia didn't just elect a Conservative Governor. They practically picked the guy up and threw him in his seat with no thought to the other guy. McDonnell won by 18 points! If someone mentioned Deeds to another, the other is more likely to believe the first was talking about the movie "Mr. Deeds".

New Jersey is a liberal state. Very liberal. Corzine should have been much closer, especially with two candidates that were more conservative as his opponents. One should have drained from the other. Yet Corzine still lost by 5 points in one of the most liberal states in the country.

So, while I understand your position, I'm sticking with my reasoning....until I don't. But thank you for making me think a little more.


Anonymous said...

Your appraisal of the NYS race was left out one imporatant aspect of NYS politics. The Conservative Party in NYS is not a new party. It goes back decades. I should know, I studied state and local politics at Syracuse University. There is also a Liberal Party, which has also been around for decades. The two "third parties" can really make for wild and crazy elections. I don't know, but I'd imange that Hoffman was also on the Liberal Party ticket in that district. Can someone confirm?

Brett said...

Anonymous, Thank you for the information. I looked up both the Conservative and Liberal parties of New York and you're right. The Conservative Party was started in 1962 and the liberal party began in 1944.

Hoffman was on the Conservative Party ticket, and I found nothing indicating that he was part of the liberal party. In fact, the liberal party lists their past candidates and the latest that they had on there was from 2002.

So I was wrong about the Conservative Party being a relatively new party.

I'm still checking on Doug Hoffman. I read somewhere that he wanted to be the Republican nominee, and decided to run as Conservative Party member when Dede was appointed.


Nameless Cynic said...

First of all, Hoffman was not a "third party candidate." By pushing out the Republican candidate because she failed some Stalinesque "ideological purity test," and then being endorsed by major figures in the Republican party, he became, by default, the de facto Republican candidate. By definition, you can't be a "third party candidate" unless there are two other parties.

And you don't believe in polls? That's funny - you seem pretty happy with them when you agree with them. You really can't have it both ways.

Brett said...

My, my. Someone got up on the wrong side of bed this morning.

Since Owens and Dede both showed up on the ballot twice, I guess you're right. Hoffman wasn't a third party candidate. He was a fifth party candidate.

Dede suspended her campaign, but she was still on the ballot as a Republican. She even got 5% of the vote, which by the way is what Hoffman lost by, if I remember correctly.

I like how you twist around my comments on polls. Very clever. But I noticed you didn't say anything about my point of no polls being correct. Exit polls were wrong and the polls leading up to the election were wrong. But that's okay. I don't comment each time I write something, about my thoughts on polls. I'll take the blame for that. But as long as polls are so askew and so biased and so wrong, then yes, I can and will have it both ways.

Thank you for your comments.