Guess who is not coming to dinner? Or the pancake breakfast? Or anything else for a while?
After months of sagging poll ratings, scandal and general political unrest, the Republicans badly needed some good news in Tuesday's elections for governor. What they got instead was a clear-cut loss in a red state, and an expected but still painful defeat in a blue one.Ouch. Liddy Dole must be having kittens this morning. She was already having trouble recruiting candidates and raising money, but this is really going to put a damper on things.
The Republican loss in Virginia, which President Bush carried with 54 percent just a year ago, came after an 11th-hour campaign stop by Mr. Bush and the kind of all-out Republican effort to mobilize the vote that reaped rich rewards last year.
Republicans argued on Tuesday that Virginia was a local election driven by local events, with little long-term national significance. But the loss clearly stung, as did the double-digit defeat in New Jersey, a blue state that had seemed within reach for the Republicans.
Whatever their significance as predictors, the elections come at a sensitive time for both parties, as they scramble to raise money, recruit strong candidates for next year's Congressional elections and, equally important, minimize the number of retirements.Am trying not to be too gleeful, since it's truly not an absolute predictor of how things will shape up for the 2006 races, but it does make recruiting and fundraising for the Dems a whole lot easier. And that feeling that the GOP is on its own, since the President's coattails are clearly nonexistant? (Just ask Kilgore! *snerk*) For my money, that's just a whole lotta icing today.
But there is a lot of work to do. I'm already working with my local Democratic groups and grassroots organizations. Please consider doing the same where you are -- Tip O'Neill's maxim that "all politics is local" is really true. And your work in your community could be the effort that tips the balance.
Sure hope Laura doesn't mind having to dine in with Bushie. Could be a long three years for Shrubya.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has more. Crooks and Liars is also on the story.
UPDATE #2: The LA Times has some analysis on why the Gropinator lost on all counts yesterday. My favorite quote:
Stuart Spencer, the veteran Republican strategist who helped Reagan become governor, then move on to the White House, noted in an interview earlier this year that "a lot of personalities have a short shelf life."And that from a guy who is on your side of the political fence. Ouch!