Perhaps I say that because I had mixed feelings tonight driving back from Carly’s party tonight in Orange County. It was a good night for the Republicans nationwide, with Republican candidates knocking off three committee chairman, John Spratt of the Budget Committee (who got walloped in South Carolina), Ike Skelton of the House Armed Services Committee and James Oberstar of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
In addition, Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey will not be returning.
In California, Gloria Allred and the public employee unions helped the Democrats sprint across the finish line. Their unions professional phone banks helped turn out the vote and turn the tide. Watching Jerry Brown declare victory without breaking a smile, it seemed I was watching a clip of a university professor leading a rally in the early 1970s. His election, Paul Mirengoff writes, sends us back to the future that doesn’t work.
Together with a cooperative media, he helped make this race about Meg Whitman’s flaws. And her campaign failed to define him as an eccentric has-been, a man to whom recently-recalled Governor Gray Davis once served as understudy. At a later date, I will write about Meg’s loss — for it was much more her loss than Brown’s win.
Thirty-six years ago, when he was first elected governor, Jerry Brown took over a state that was fiscally sound. Today, he faces a state with perennial budget woes. Personally, I don’t think he’s equipped to face this mess. A majority of my fellow Californians disagreed. But then, the campaign was never really about the state’s shaky fiscal standing. And now, we have to hope, we have to pray that Jerry Brown is up to fixing it.
As to Carly’s loss, well, I’m a little sad, but not despondent. I had a sense it was coming. While we Republican phone bankers may have reassured ourselves that the Democrats lacked a Get Out the Vote effort, while watching the news, I saw Mrs. Boxer angrily rallying the troops at a union phone bank in El Monte. Their voters may not be enthusiastic about their statewide candidates, but the unions know how to get them out.
While California’s economy will likely remain in the tank, the good news for the nation, to borrow an expression from Joe Biden, is that the huge Republican victory in the House mean “the ‘end of the road’ for the White House’s agenda.”
Let’s just hope that Jerry Brown doesn’t bring that agenda to the (once-)Golden State. For should he do that, it will never regain its luster.
*says this blogger writing from California.