Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Success, but not total

Expectations were so high, that Republicans are feeling perhaps let down that it wasn't even bigger. But let's not let disappointment about California or Nevada get us down. The swing in the house is historic and a major repudiation of the liberal agenda pursued so doggedly by Nancy Pelosi. The Republicans have a crop of very promising figures who should excite conservatives. Marco Rubio will be an inspiring new voice on the national scene. Taking the governor's seats in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico will give conservatives a chance to demonstrate what their policy preferences can do for a state's economy.

In my state, North Carolina, Republicans have won control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since a federal army occupied the state during Reconstruction. [Correction: there was a brief two-year period from 1896-1898 when the Republicans fused with the Populists to control the government. Then a vicious white supremacy campaign in 1898 allowed the Democrats to regain control.]

And don't forget the impact that the Republicans local victories will have on redistricting.

One lesson that conservative voters should learn is to not fall for someone who says all the right things on selected issues, but has lots of baggage as a candidate. Losing Nevada hurts - was Sharron Angle the only person in Nevada who could lose to Harry Reid? Or would Sue Lowden or Danny Tarkanian have turned out to be just as vulnerable to Reid's negative ads? We just don't know. And Christine O'Donnell? Enough has been said about her. At least the GOP won't have to be cringing for the next six years over gaffes by Angle and O'Donnell. They'll be gone from the scene and we'll still have very credible new senators like Ron Johnson and Pat Toomey who may become conservative stars on the scene.

The victories of Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer in California sure are disappointing. Well, the state will reap some more of what the Democrats have been sowing there. And at least we have a marked example that money alone will not win elections after Whitman reportedly spent about $140 million of her own money to try to win that race.

And 2012 should be interesting. There will be incumbent Senate Democrats from red states like Montana, Virginia, Nebraska, and North Dakota up for reelection. We'll see if senators who won in the 2006 wave election will be able to hold on. Such pondering will have to wait a bit while we see how the next two years shake out.