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The Shifting Political Landscape PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Monday, 02 November 2009
AFF Sentinel Vol.6#32
Vocal, Active Voters Having Impact

We warned you last week was going to be interesting. It was - and the weekend was more so.

Thursday was the zenith for the Democratic leadership. With the surreal air of a triumphant but slightly disconnected queen, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a great show of unveiling the House version of legislation to fix the health care system. All wrongs were to be fixed and the cost would be zip. Uh- huh.

While the news media spent Thursday and Friday playing Little Jack Horner, pulling juicy plums of mandates and expensive provisions out of the Senate bill just beginning to be digested, the other concentration was nose counting. Did either Pelosi or Sen. Harry Reid have the votes to pass their monstrosities (the two bills totaled over 3,000 pages)? Someone from Rep. Stenny Hoyer's office - the majority whip - leaked a memo indicating they did not. It's common knowledge the Senate does not. Too many moderate Democrats were listening to constituents - horrors!

But the most unexpected moves came this weekend. Two gubernatorial races and a U.S. House race in upstate New York had been garnering unusual national attention. Political observers want to see if the discontent evident among voters at Tea Party rallies and townhall meetings will translate to votes in 2010.

President Obama carried Virginia handily, but it is very likely a Republican - with a double-digit poll lead going into Election Day - will win for governor. In New Jersey, a high-tax governor, Democrat John Corzine, is running slightly behind a Republican challenger, with the complication of a third party candidate polling around 10 percent. President Obama has invested a lot of time and effort campaigning for Corzine, and a defeat would tarnish his coattails. In Virginia, the President's men have already distanced themselves from the Democrat Creigh Deeds, explaining that Deeds did not position himself closely enough to Obama's policies and personal coattails - their spin on why he likely won't win.

Fox News' Carl Cameron noted the Virginia race has got to make Democrats nervous, as a moderate, rural Democrat could be beaten in a state that went for Obama.

That ill betides all the fresh moderate Democrats running for re-election in 2010.

But the most fascinating events were in the 23rd district in New York. The parties, in this special election, selected their candidates without a primary. The Republican Party, oblivious to current political trends, in an historically conservative district, selected a candidate who was extremely liberal, favoring union card check, cap and trade and the health care bills, strong on abortion rights and gay rights. Furious, the district's conservatives formed a Conservative Party and put up candidate Doug Hoffman.

Initially running in single digits and way behind, Hoffman, in just a few weeks began gaining on the leaders. National conservatives began endorsing Hoffman and questioning the choice of the liberal candidate backed by the local Republican party. The eastern Tea Party movement aggressively organized efforts to mobilize the vote for the conservative Hoffman. His poll numbers rocketed and in a short time, it became obvious the Republican party's candidate, Dede Scozzafava, would be trounced.

Bowing to the inevitable, Saturday Scozzafava announced she was suspending her campaign but declined to endorse anyone. On Sunday, to complete an improbable political weekend, Scozzafava - the far- left candidate of a Republican apparatus oblivious to citizen anger - announced that she was endorsing the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens. Hoffman could likely win.

What do we learn here? The letters, e-mails, Tea Party marches and general voter opposition are affecting Washington. No one can authoritatively say what, if any, kind of health care bill will pass. It appears the leadership does not now have the votes to pass a bill with all of the things they want. Opposed voters must keep the pressure on Republicans and moderate Democrats. If you oppose the massive spending, regulation and market dismantling that is being proposed, be sure to make a promise to your senators and representatives. Promise them that anyone who votes for a health care monstrosity can kiss off your vote forever. We'd suggest you include cap and trade with the promise.

Even before the New York election, it is obvious that the Tea Party movement and conservative citizens are much more in tune with many voters than local Republican officials. We suggest the national Republican party, trying to decide whether to represent conservative taxpayers in America or try to out- moderate or out-liberal the Democrats - and out- spend them -- had better look at the elections tomorrow and think hard.


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 January 2010 )
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