I know, I know. I should really be counting my blessings. And I hate to piss on our parade. A HUGE sweep in Virginia (expected) and an incredibly pleasant surprise up in New Jersey (I have to be honest, I wasn’t counting on that, but WOW!). All GOPers should be glad this morning as both major candidates of the party were successful in knocking the ruling power of these two states out and replacing them with Republicans.
On the other hand, I have to say…
Now, I’m a Republican–registered and active (as far as the Hatch Act allows me)–and as such, I’m bully for our side, as they say. But I’m first and foremost, beyond party affiliation, a small-government, low-tax, individual-liberty small-‘l’ libertarian. And from that perspective, something else happened last night:
In a solidly (for over a century, we’re constantly being told) Republican district, the clear fiscal conservative lost in (ostensibly) a two-man race against a leftist lawyer. While the constituencies of New Jersy and Virginia alone each dwarf that of NY-23, and together render it completely negligable, something larger happened last night that gives me great pause as to the direction of our great Nation.
It’s not simply a (yet another) Congressional rubber-stamp vote for the Stalinization of the American health care industry, massive tax increases, enormous government expansion and Pelosiesque class warfare that was garnered last night. It was, in a conservative district a repudiation of smaller government and lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty. Clearly the only candidate in NY-23 last night running on shaping the US the way small-government, small-‘l’ libertarians desire lost. And not in Manhattan or Hollywood. Not in Hyde Park or Washington, DC. In rural, upstate New York.
The entire NY-23 episode was a healthy blood-letting for the GOP, yes. We have proven to all who question that ours is the party of fiscal restraint, personal responsibilty, individual freedom, and smaller Federal government. Ask Ms. Scuzzafava about that.
But a bigger question seems to remain, thanks to Congressman-elect Bill Owens: Can we turn these core American beliefs into an actual movement? This summer’s tea parties and rallies against big-government gave me hope about a new American sense of Independence. The repudiation of this newly-reborn sense of respect for our founding principles last night in (of all places) upstate New York gives me great concern about our Nation and its ability to embrace these precepts that are the very basis of our unique experiment in the first place.
The bottom-line is this: Over the past 9 months, we have heard every political pundit and web-spinner worth his salt interpreting poll results and the general mood of the Country as basically this:
While the president remains terribly popular on a personal level, Americans are en-masse revolting against his policies. They like Barack Obama; they just don’t like what he’s trying to do. His personal approval ratings are still quite high, but his policies are terribly unpopular.
Bla, bla bla.
Virginia and (to an even greater extent) New Jersey tell us that President Obama is wildly unpopular. Not able even to deliver the bluest-of-blue Garden State to an incumbent(!), and the gubernatorial vote swinging about 25% from his victory in last year’s presidential contest clearly shows that the president’s political wave has ebbed to say the least. On the other hand, a red district (historically, yes, I know it went to Obama last year) in rural New York just sent a guaranteed vote for Nancy Pelosi and every cockamaime big-government Leftist scheme to the House of Representatives. This turns every political analysis of the past spring, summer, and fall on its ear.
From where I’m standing, I’d have traded New Jersey and Virginia for NY-23. Am I crazy? Please say so.
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)