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Of the Bushes and the ‘Burbs

Since the first year of the Obama administration, Michael Barone has identified two issues which could tip the 2012 election, the first, related to the policies at odds with the candidate’s strongest supporters in the 2008 election, the second, an increasing tendency of suburban voters to return to their (pre-1992) Republican roots.

As to the president’s strongest supporters, Barone observed in 2009 that “Democrats’ policies are not in sync” with younger voters, part of a generation

. . . accustomed to making its own choices and shaping its own world. They listen to their own iPod playlists, not someone else’s Top 40; they construct their own Facebook pages rather than enlisting in the official Elvis Fan Club.

At the same time, crediting “longtime Democratic pollster and political analyst Pat Caddell,” Barone pointed out that in the 2009 off-off-year elections, “affluent suburban voters moved sharply toward Republicans in 2009″.  And not just in the marquee gubernatorial contests that fall.  Republican candidates also did well in contests in the Philadelphia and New York suburbs.

Last night, the pundit native to Detroit offered his hunch that Romney’s success in that city’s suburbs has “implications. . . for the general election“:

Romney has shown in Michigan as elsewhere a capacity to win votes in affluent areas—which is exactly where (at least in the North) Republicans have been weak in presidential general elections over the last 20 years. Look at it this way: in 1988 George H. W. Bush carried the five-county metro Detroit area 50%-49%–a tiny margin, but one which enabled him, with a 56%-43% Outstate margin that was underwhelming in historic perspective, to carry Michigan. Similarly, the elder Bush, with big margins from affluent suburbanites, carried metro Boston, metro New York, metro Philadelphia, metro Cleveland and metro Chicago, which enabled him to win the electoral votes of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

H.W.’s son never did as well as his Dad in metro Detroit. (more…)

Kudos to Garden State’s Big Fat Governor

New Jersey’s Governor is doing to his state budget what the president should be doing to the federal government:   freezing spending.  And unlike the Democrat’s proposed freeze, the Republican is not waiting until he has increased funding to various pet programs he’s trimming spending right away:

Calling New Jersey’s budget a “shambles,” Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he is immediately freezing all state spending.

Saying New Jersey is on the verge of bankruptcy, Christie declared a fiscal emergency, announcing drastic cuts. Among them, aid to school districts that have excess surpluses.

“Today we are going to act swiftly to fix problems too long ignored. Today I begin to do what I promised the people of New Jersey I would do,” Christie said.

Wonder if Christie is blaming his big-spending predecessor for the fiscal mess he inherited.  We’re hearing squeals of protest from the typical suspects.  Democrats and liberal special interest groups are outraged, but taxpayer groups are pleased.  It sounds like the Governor has only just begun; he plans to revisit union contracts for the state’s public transportation system.  Let’s hope those are they only union contracts he’s looking into.

This freshman Governor is showing the way Republicans need to act if they want to restore the faith of the American people and return to sound fiscal policies, but they need also brace themselves for attacks in the media and from special interests.  Doing the right thing won’t endear you to everyone, least of all those used to sucking a the government teat.

Looks like this Republican is keeping his promise to pick the state capital up and turn it upside down.  Kudos, Governor.  You’re a credit to your party–and your state.

Democrats Keep Special Interest Provisions in Health Care Legislation

Even as Senate Democrats will be seating Scott Brown today, they still don’t seem to have learned much from his election.  With the American people upset not just about the content of the various health care bills, but also about the process of cobbling them together, Senate Democrats stand behind the product of their back room machinations.

The health care bill is in trouble, but a series of narrow deals — each designed to win over a wavering senator or key interest group — is alive and well, despite voter anger over the parochial horse-trading that marked the rush toward passage before Christmas.

With the exception of Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback,” which alienated independent voters and came to symbolize an out-of-touch Washington, none of the other narrow provisions that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inserted into the bill appear to be in any kind of danger as Democrats try to figure out the way ahead.

Not only that, House liberals want to reopen the labor deal struck just days before Democrats lost their 60-vote majority — not to dial it back but to provide more generous protections from the tax on Cadillac insurance plans.

Rick Richman contends that such protections which he calls “the Union-Label Insurance Exemption (U-LIE)

marked the culmination of a process that violated multiple Obama promises about the changes he would bring to Washington: it was not transparent, it was not post-partisan, and it did not eliminate the Blue State/Red State dichotomy. On the contrary, it followed a parade of buy-offs, kickbacks, and exemptions given to Blue State senators to garner their participation in the “historic” process

There is something bizarre in watching the Democrats stand fast to their process and payoffs.  It’s not just that Obama ran against exactly this type of political deal-making in his 2008 campaign, but that the American people have signaled their disgust with this of legislating in polls and at the ballot box in states holding elections in recent days and months.

What New Jersey’s Big Fat Governor and Massachusetts’ Studly New Senator Have in Common

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:06 pm - January 20, 2010.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,2010 Elections

Focusing yesterday on the election of a Republican Senator in the Bay State, most of those of us who blog about politics all but ignored the inauguration of a Republican Governor in the Garden State.  And while many factors contributed to the victories of these two good men, it may well have been a bit of political theater which turned the tide in each of their respective races.

Recall how, in the last month of the New Jersey campaign, polls showed the race tightening?  Chris Christie had not made a strong enough case for his candidacy.  Then, in “a brilliant piece of retail politics,” on the Thursday before the election, the rotund Republican went on Don Imus’s radio show and joked about his weight:

“I’m pretty fat Don,” Christie declared.

“You weigh?” Imus asked.

“550 pounds,” Christie jokingly responded.

What Christie did with humor, Scott Brown did with a one liner:


Albeit in different ways, with the above remarks, each man came across as personable, the kind of guy you’d like to meet.  That surely had an impact on the race.  Voters eager for change in these two “blue” states could more readily embrace these Republicans.

Houston Elects Lesbian Mayor

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:54 pm - December 13, 2009.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,Gay America

When the LA Times called Annise Parker, Houston’s Mayor-Elect “conservative,” I thought that maybe this lesbian is a Republican, but, alas, she is not.  In the Space City’s mayoral runoff yesterday, she “defeated former City Attorney Gene Locke on an austere platform, convincing voters that her financial bona fides and restrained promises would be best suited in trying financial times.

Seems the main issue which propelled her to victory wasn’t her sexuality, but her fiscal common sense.  While she was “opposed by conservative religious groups and anti-gay activists“,

Houston voters [were] concerned less with lifestyle issues and more with bread-and-butter issues like the budget, public safety and city services, said Bob Stein, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

She wasn’t running as the lesbian candidate for Mayor, but as a prudent manager of the city’s finances who happened to be lesbian.  Her victory seems to be emblematic of the changing attitudes toward gays, that if gay and lesbian candidates run for office on issues of concern to voters in their jurisdiction, where their sexuality is incidental to their political philosophy and campaign platform, voters will look past their sexuality and consider the merits of their person and their policy proposals.

With Mayor-Elect Parker’s background in financial management and commitment to sound budgetary policies, it looks like, come January 1, the City of Houston will be in good hands.

(H/t for news of election Instapundit.)

Will Gay Marriage Activists Ever Stop Demonizing Their Adversaries?

Bruce just forwarded me a message he got from Twitter about gay activists setting up a “Bigot List” of donors to Question 1 in Maine, the successful ballot measure to “veto” a marriage law passed by the Pine Tree State’s elected legislature.

Now, like those who publish this list, I opposed Question 1, but their determination to root through the list shows an interest in berating these individuals.  Can you imagine how they would react if radical social conservatives published the list of those who donated to the campaign to defeat Question 1 and dispatched ex-gay leaders to their homes while encouraging church-goers to boycott their businesses?

This type of behavior does little to advance the cause of gay marriage.  Indeed, if it helps anyone, it helps opponents of gay marriage, giving them an additional talking point to show the thuggish tactics of gay activists. I hope (but doubt) that other gay leaders and bloggers will join me in denouncing these antics and encourage advocates of gay marriage to make a better case of their cause.

Remember, the issue should be making the case for state recognition of same-sex marriage, not demonizing those who oppose such recognition.  These folks need take a page from the Service Members Legal Defense Network, a group whose leaders refuse to indulge in such juvenile tactics.

On gay marriage, civil unions and the 2009 elections

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 11:59 am - November 11, 2009.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,Gay Marriage

As many of you may know that last Tuesday while voters in Maine rejected gay marriage, voters in Washington State approved domestic partnerships.  That “split decision” occasioned my latest column for Pajamas Media.  Here’s a taste:

Largely lost amidst the hullabaloo of Republican gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia and a Conservative defeat in New York’s 23rd congressional district last week was a successful citizens’ veto in Maine of a state statute recognizing gay marriage.  At the same time, across the nation, citizens in Washington State approved a statute making “the rights, responsibilities, and obligations  of same-sex and senior domestic partners” the equivalent to those of married spouses without calling the relationships marriage.  The margins were nearly identical.   In the Pine Tree State, 52.8% of voters approved Question 1, rejecting state recognition of same-sex marriage.  In the Evergreen State, 52.56% voted to approve domestic partnerships.

This split decision, if you will, could have tremendous reverberations in the current debate on gay marriage, particularly as it relates to the strategies gay activists employ to secure state recognition of and legal benefits to same-sex couples.  When Maine voters’ approval of Question 1, the Pine Tree State become the 31st state to either reject same-sex marriage or accept the traditional definition of marriage by popular initiative.  No state has recognized same-sex marriage at the ballot box.

By contrast, Washington State become the first state to approve state recognition of same-sex domestic partnerships at the ballot box.*  It’s only been ten years since California became the first state to recognize same-sex relationships when the state legislature enacted the Domestic Partnership Act of 1999.  While some state courts (e.g., Vermont that year and New Jersey in 2003) mandated the state legislature enact legislation recognizing civil unions, until last Tuesday, voters, via a statewide initiative process, had never previously approved such legislation.

Click here to read the rest.

Peolosi Democrats: Where Ideology Trumps Democracy

I’ve been trying to figure out why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (likely following orders handed down from the White House) was so determined to hold a vote on a bill to increase government control over one-sixth of our economy the week after her party suffered its worst shellacking at the polls since President George W. Bush’s in election in 2004.  And that year, that good, but flawed Republican, didn’t win New Jersey, Pennsylvania or New York’s Westchester County as did his fellow partisans last week.

Not just that, his margin in the Old Dominion was ten points lower than that of the victorious Republican gubernatorial candidate last week.  Voters didn’t just turn against the Democrats; if polls are any indication, people are turning, in increasing numbers against the Obama/Pelosi health care plan:

The Ipsos-McClatchy poll taken at the end of October showed a 15-point drop in support for the plan among independents over the course of last month. That helped drive down overall support for the health bill to 42 percent versus 52 percent against.

So, why did she do it?  Perhaps the bill’s narrow passage is, as Ed Morrissey speculates “the high-water mark for ObamaCare.”  If Democrats didn’t push it now, the bill would stand even less chance of passage.

Or maybe it’s more than that.  Maybe Democrats really do see last week’s election as purely local affairs and think that polling trends show increasing opposition to big government are blips on the radar screen, a temporary reaction to a down economy.

But, I think it’s the Democratic mindset, that of both Mrs. Pelosi and the supposedly post-partisan president.  As his far White House staff reveals, this guy is the most partisan figure to occupy the Oval Office at least since Nixon.  They really do want to fundamentally transform America, regardless what the polls say and the people feel.

Democrats Dupe Gays to Help Corzine

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:35 pm - November 6, 2009.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,Gay Politics,Obama and Gay Issues

In trying to spin the results of this week’s elections to fit the Democratic/media narrative that Republicans are a dying species, Administration officials dwell on the results in NY-23 as if the White House were indifferent to the races in New Jersey and Virginia. And anyway, the Democratic candidate in New Jersey was an incumbent Governor weighed down by broken promises and corruption.

Let me remind you what a leading Democratic Governor said just over a month ago about the contest in the Garden State:

Asked in an interview with POLITICO about the New Jersey race, Democratic Governors Association chairman and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said flatly: “Corzine wins.”

Then the always-colorful Schweitzer stood up, reached into his pocket and shook a few coins, and doubled-down: “I bet whatever money is in my pocket he’s going to win.”

Was he just betting his change?

Let’s also recall where President Obama was last weekend.  Yup, you got it.  He was in Jersey, holding rallies in Camden and Newark.  And it wasn’t just the President.  The Democratic National Committee was urging Maine Democrats to make calls to New Jersey on behalf of Jon Corzine while doing nothing to help Defeat Question 1 (the citizens’ veto of a state law recognizing same-sex marriages).

According to liberal blogger John Aravosis:

the DNC was in fact doing more than sending generic “get out the vote” messages to advocate. In states they deemed worthy, they were actually organizing for specific things on the ballot. Marriage in Maine simply didn’t pass muster.

It’s not just that, a DNC official told Aravosis that it “did not send an email to our Maine list asking them to make calls in New Jersey.”  Democrats, while begging for gay money, were more concerned about reelecting an embattled Democrat than opposing Question 1.  

It must really hurt for those gay Democrats who have such high expectations for their party.

How did a party beholden to conservative extremists manage to win so many elections in jurisdictions won by Obama just one year ago?

Focusing on the campaign in New York’s 23rd Congressional District as if it were the only election conducted last week, leading Democrats from the White House on down tell us that the GOP is a divided party, beholden to its far right extremist fringe.  Well, those people peddling that partisan nonsense weren’t paying much attention to events on the other side of the state.

In Westchester County (where Obama snagged 63.39% of the vote last fall), Republican Rob Astorino ousted Democrat Andy Spano, winning more votes than did Congresman-elect Bill Owens and erstwhile Republican Dede Scozzafava combined.  In Nassau County where Obama ran one point ahead of his national percentage, voters this week returned the County Legislature to Republican control.  Guess, everyone in in the Empire State (outside its far northern reaches) is becoming extremist.

And it wasn’t just the Empire State.

Republican Barbara Comstock’s ousted a Democratic incumbent in an inside-the Beltway Virginia Delegate district.  Republican Joan Orie Melvin won a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  Not to mention other Republican victories in Obama jurisdictions.

So, if the GOP is so divided and so beholden to its extreme wings, how did Republicans manage to do so well in these jurisdictions which went overwhelmingly for Obama last fall?

Why do Gay Leaders Have this Compulsion to Out their Adversaries?

It seems gay leaders exist to make my point about their incompetence to appeal to those whose minds they most need to change.  Now, we learn that the leader of the No on 1 campaign in Maine, instead of learning from the campaign’s mistakes, intends to target those voters in the Pine Tree State:

No on 1 campaign manager Jesse Connolly pledged that his side “will not quit until we know where every single one of these votes lives.””

Yeah, that kind of rhetoric will really help you change minds.  How about saying something like this

We came up short this time, but who’d have thought that five years ago, we could have got 47% of Maine citizens to vote for gay marriage.  We need to look closely at our campaign, figure out where we went wrong and make a stronger case next time, telling voters why marriage is good and why it’s good for gay people.

Let me give Mr. Connolly a piece of advice, angry rhetoric is not going to change minds.  You need to make the case for gay marriage not against those who voted against it.  ’Cause if you want to win next time, you’re going to need some of their votes.

Maybe Doug Hoffman Should Have Better Attended to Local Issues

Shortly after Bob Dornan lost his Orange County congressional seat by fewer than 1,000 votes (many of which turned out to be cast illegally), I was talking with a Republican political consultant who said that a number of his associates (in the political consultancy world) had warned the right-wing firebrand that he was in danger of losing to his Democratic opponent because he was neglecting the district.

But, the man who began the year by launching a quixotic quest for the White House, preferred to address his conservative fans across the country than to tend to his constituents in Southern California.  He saw himself first and foremost as the leader  of a conservative movement and not a representative of California’s 46th House District.  And that’s why he no longer represents a district that narrowly went for George H.W. Bush in 1992 and overwhelmingly rejected Barbara Boxer the same year.

With that history in mind, we can perhaps better see another reason Doug Hoffman narrowly lost a congressional seat earlier this week in a district that while historically Republican, went for Barack Obama last fall.

Jim Geraghty echoed a point made by a number of bloggers when he wondered yesterday if anyone asked upstate New Yorkers if they wanted their race nationalized?

Well, perhaps Hoffman’s botching of an interview with the Watertown Daily Times editorial board should have been a red flag.

We junkies of national politics overlook local issues way too easily.

No one ever really asked the voters of this district whether they wanted their House race to be a national fight. I’m slated to appear on Fred Thompson’s radio program today, and I’m a fan of him, and Sarah Palin, and all of the other big-name conservatives who jumped in to beat the drum for Hoffman. But maybe the locals wanted more than criticism of Obama and Pelosi and spending. Maybe the fact that he lived on the other side of the district line rankled with them.

Writing in a similar vein, Ann Althouse studied pictures of the two leading contenders in the race and observed

Owens, by contrast [to Hoffman], is big and rugged-looking. He’s an Air Force veteran and he has that military solidity, calm and self-possession. (more…)

Did Gay Issues Help Sink Hoffman?

Active in Virginia politics when living in Arlington in the 1990s, I reached a conclusion about most suburban “swing” voters, they are neither pro-gay nor anti-gay, but are rather anti-anti-gay, that is, they really don’t like candidates who make opposition to gay issues the centerpiece of their campaigns.  This applies even to voters who agree with the candidates on said issues.

I didn’t need to see the polls to know that Bob McDonnell was going to to well on Tuesday, I knew it from the e-mails I received and blog posts I read.  My gay friends in the Commonwealth were voting Republican.  It seemed that the gay Republican vote was a kind of barometer of electoral success.  When, in the 1990s, gay Republicans embraced the GOP candidate, he won statewide.  When they didn’t, he lost.  The only two GOP statewide candidates to lose in the 1990s, Mike Farris and Oliver North were perceived as anti-gay.

Now, I realize that New York State’s 23rd Congressional District has different demographics than does the Commonwealth of Virginia, but maybe some of the voters have similar concerns.  When we endorsed Doug Hoffman, I heard from a number of readers who said he had run an anti-gay campaign.  I could find no evidence of that.  (If I had, we would not have endorsed him.)  Still, the perception persisted.  If some voters in upstate New York thought as much, did they vote for Owens or stay at home because they didn’t want a representatives who emphasized gay issues?

Now, we know from the results in Maine as well as those in thirty other states where voters have considered the issue, that Americans reject gay marriage.  But, that doesn’t make opposing gay marriage a winning issue, that is, if said opposition is the centerpiece of your campaign (or is perceived as such).  If people think the GOP is the anti-gay marriage party, we lose.  Americans may oppose gay marriage, but it is not high on most people’s list of priorities.  They need to see us as the conservative reform party where our primary issue is, to paraphrase the Garden State’s Governor-elect, turning government “upside down.”

If they think Republicans prefer talking about the “evils” of gay marriage to putting together plans to reduce government spending, they’re not going to come out and vote for us.  But, if as Governors-elect McDonnell and Christie, they put forward reform ideas that don’t involve tax increases, but do include regulatory relief, then they can win even in “blue” regions of the country.

The Obama Democrats’ Real Dilemma:
When the Rubber, er, Rhetoric Meets the Road

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:46 pm - November 5, 2009.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,Freedom

Young people swarmed to the Obama bandwagon last year because of the Democrat’s hip campaign and powerful presence. Many had little idea what exactly their man stood for save the amorphous appeals to hope and change, but they sure liked the contrast between his image and that of then-the tongue-tied incumbent.

Well, poring through the exit polls after Tuesday’s Democratic rout in two states which voted for Obama, Michael Barone found that the youth vote dropped off substantially, with younger voters in the Old Dominion voting “about as Republican as their elders“:

The big-government programs of Obama Democrats evidently have less appeal than those trendy posters and inspiring rallies and cries of “We are the change we are seeking.” I have yet to see survey research showing that young Americans want to work under union contracts, with their 5,000 pages of work rules and rigid seniority systems. That doesn’t sound like a tune that appeals to the iPod generation.

Obama may not have been on the ballot in New Jersey, Virginia and New York’s Westchester County, to note just three jurisdictions which swung to the right on Tuesday, but his policies were.  And the more people look at them, the more they move away from his party.

On Conservatives & the GOP

Grover gets it:

Conservatives cannot win without the Republican party and the Republican party cannot win without conservatives. Everything else is commentary.

Reflections on the Impending Death of Obamacare

If President Obama and congressional Democrats want to prevent more Democrats from suffering the fate next fall as outgoing New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, outgoing Westchester County Executive Andy Spano and various Democrats across the Commonwealth of Virginia did last night, they would do well to ditch health care as an issue and focus on legislation designed to create jobs.

And as they work on that legislation, they need bear in mind that to generate job creation without further burdening taxpayers and their descendants, you need remove the burdens on employers.  No wonder Virginians and New Jerseyites voted, respectively, for Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie.  These men know that government regulation won’t help entrepreneurs in their states.  They knew that the big issue in their jurisdictions was Joe Biden’s favorite three-letter word, jobs.

In Virginia, forty-six percent said “that the economy and jobs are the most important issue to their vote. One in four indicate that health care reform is their most pressing issue,”  In New Jersey, voters rated health care the fourth most important issue, after the economy/jobs, property taxes and corruption.

And yet the Democrats in Washington, D.C. have made health care their most important issue.  From my perspective as a blogger who follows the news, the 111th Congress has devoted far more time to health care reform than it has to economic growth (which give the makeup of the current Congress is not necessarily a bad thing).

But, I do think politicians in Washington follow election returns.  They read the Washington Post and know that the Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia carried Fairfax County.  Republican Barbara Comstock even knocked off incumbent Democratic Delegate Margi Vanderhye in an inside-the beltway district.

And this is why as mayor of the gay conservative city in the county of the land of blogs, having found a few coroners who have thoroughly examined Obamacare and have thus averred it’s not only merely dead, it’s really most sincerely dead, I can let the joyous news be spread that Nancy Pelosi’s wicked big bill will soon to be dead.

2009 campaign takeaway: negative ads not (always) effective

Would-be Jon Corzines are quaking in their boots (and heels).  Having watched firsthand an unpopular Democratic Governor win reelection in the Golden State in 2002 by trashing his opponent, I thought the New Jersey Democrat’s nasty campaign might have worked.

My opinion of Garden State voters improved dramatically last night.  They are not as numbed by images on the boob tube as are their counterparts in California.  Or maybe it’s the times.  The way we get our news has changed dramatically in the last 7 years.

Despite spending $20 million in ads trashing Chris Christie, Jon Corzine lost to that good Republican.  That conscientious prosecutor won with the largest margin of victory of any New Jersey Republican in 24 years — since the very popular Governor Thomas Kean’s reelection in 1985.

With unemployment in the Golden State the highest it’s been since World War II, having increased by 33% since the state’s junior Senator, Ma’am Barbara Boxer, was first elected during a recession in 1992, that Democrat is going to have a hard time running on her record and is likely to pull a tactic (or two) from the bag of tricks she used in her successful 1992 and 1998 campaigns, trash her opponent and avoid taking questions from the media.

But, will she be able to succeed in a political world reshaped by blogs and the internet?

Maine & Washington Results Indicate New Gay Leadership Needed

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:54 pm - November 4, 2009.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,Gay Marriage,Gay Politics

I will wait to write a more comprehensive post on gay issues and the 2009 elections when we get final returns from Washington State where a measure to uphold the state’s Domestic Partnership program currently clings to a narrow lead.  If that margin holds, the Evergreen State will be the first state where voters ratified a state law recognizing same-sex unions.  In Arizona in 2006, voters rejected a sweeping measure which would have banned recognition of same-sex marriages as well as domestic partnerships.

The margin, in this socially liberal state, is way too close for comfort.

With 31 states having voted on gay marriage, Maine became the 31st to vote against it.

These results make clear that new leadership is needed in the gay movement.  If the heads of the various gay organizations, including and especially those devoted to “marriage equality,” didn’t get the message last year after the passage of Proposition 8 in California, they should get it today after the passage of Question 1 in Maine.

So, Joe, Evan, Geoff, Kate, the door is thattaway.

UPDATE:  To accent my point about the need for new leadership, take note of this tidbit.  Question 1 passed in Maine

despite a massive outpouring of resources by gay rights groups. Gay marriage advocates spent an estimated $4 milion defending the law, while opponents reportedly spent about $2.5 million.

Barone: the ‘burbs are back for the GOP

Last night, on FoxNews Michael Barone delivered his interpretation of the election results.  Unlike other big name pundits, he looked beyond the big races and found some significant trends in the contests to which others weren’t paying much attention.

After that sage political prognosticator he pointed out that the Republican won a resounding victory in New York’s Westchester County (where Obama captured nearly two-thirds of the vote last fall), I quickly googled the jurisdiction and found that Republican County Executive-elect Rob Astorino wasn’t the only Republican to oust an incumbent Democrat in that suburban county adjacent to the Big Apple.   Other Westchester Republicans, while not winning, ran well ahead of their party’s standard bearer in the 2008 presidential election.

Republican Susan Siegel ousted incumbent Democrat Donald Peters for Yorktown supervisor while her fellow partisan Charles Duffy ousted Democrat Edward Brancali for the same post in Lewisboro. Republicans ousted incumbent Democratic Mayors in Mamaroneck and Rye.

To be sure, these are small races, but they hardly show a party reduced to rump status.

Barone found that the results in Westchester County were not unique. Crediting “longtime Democratic pollster and political analyst Pat Caddell,” he found “affluent suburban voters moved sharply toward Republicans in 2009″:

Bergen County, New Jersey, a 56%-42% Corzine constituency in 2005, came within a point or two of voting for Christie, and in Virginia McDonnell carried 51%-49% Fairfax County—Republican for years but recently in cultural issues and with an increasing immigrant population Democratic (60%-39% Obama in 2008). . . .

From the 1996 election up through and including 2008., affluent counties in the East, Midwest and West have trended Democratic, largely through distaste for the religious and cultural conservatives whom voters there have seen (not without reason) as dominant in the Republican party. Now, with the specter of higher tax rates and a vastly expanded public sector, they may be—possibly—headed in the other direction. An interesting trend to watch.

This year, however, the tax issue resonates.  As does opposition to Democrats’ big-government initiatives.

This should serve as a sign to the GOP of how to wage future campaigns. Republicans thinking about running in next fall’s elections would do well to listen closely to Governor-elect Chris Christie’s speech last night where he outlined his agenda to turn Trenton (the state capital) “upside down.”  People want change–and the kind of changes Republicans like Ronald Reagan have been talking about  for more than forty years now.

Maine Voters Reject Gay Marriage

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:27 am - November 4, 2009.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,Gay Marriage

Given that the elected legislature had passed and the elected Governor had signed the law in Maine recognizing same-sex marriage, I had expected the dynamics of the race to be a little different in the Pine Tree State.  But, the result is nearly identical to that in the Golden State just one year ago.  With 87% of the vote in, 52.8% of the state’s citizens voted to reject the law.

On the other side of the country, in the Evergreen State, an initiative to approve the state’s domestic partnership law is ahead by about 2 points with half of all precincts reporting.  If that margin holds, it would confirm polls showing increasing support for state recognition of same-sex civil unions, but steady opposition to gay marriage.  In every state where citizens have been asked about gay marriage, they have voted it down, but by smaller margins than when such referenda first appeared on American ballots.

Methinks that for now, we should focus on getting state recognition of civil unions, but the closeness of the Washington State result is striking.  The state, like others on the West Coast is socially liberal, particularly in its western counties.  And there are likely many Republicans who voted to approve the Domestic Partnership proposal.

My biggest fear about the Maine vote is that the President will use it as an excuse not to move forward on issues of concern to the gay community, particularly repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  DaveO gets it:

No on 1 made the same mistake that No on 8 made in California. It WAS a vote on “Equality”, or at least that’s how that side tried to portray it. They just don’t get that fuzzy terms like “Equality” only appeal to liberal Democrats with guilty consciences and pretty much to no one else.

That’s just one reason we needed new gay leadership, not individuals beholden to such socialist-sounding words as “equality.”