Thursday, May 20, 2010

Post Election Hash

I am bemused, once again, by the mainstream media's take on Tuesday's elections, especially since most of the pundit's projected winners crashed and burned. This article from the Los Angeles Times is typical of the weak analysis being offered. The very first line is a dead giveaway of what I consider to be a faulty conclusion:

Republicans got a wake-up call this week.

Oh, did they now... I'm not so sure. Let's parse some of the evidence offered to support the implied thesis that the National Democratic Party "won".

Democrats nominated probably their strongest Senate contender in Pennsylvania, where Rep. Joe Sestak eliminated party-switcher Arlen Specter. ...

Mr. Sestak, long a registered Democrat ran against the "Democrat" selected by the White House and the Democratic leadership as the preferred candidate. Arlen Specter, who was a Republican until it became clear that he would lose to a more reliably conservative candidate, was promised support by the party leaders, including President Obama, if he would switch parties and give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the sixtieth vote Mr. Reid so desperately wanted.

No one connected with the deal bothered to check with the state party leaders or with the voters to see how they would react to this cynical maneuver. Joe Sestak's victory makes that clear. The peasants, as they are wont to do every once in a while, rebelled. Polls just before the election had it close enough that the White House suddenly disappeared from the campaign. As it turns out, the polls were wrong as well. Sestak's margin of victory was pretty clear.

And then, there's Kentucky:

...In Kentucky's Senate contest, Democrats drew their preferred opponent in state "tea party" founder Rand Paul (though he could be underestimated in the fall as he was this spring.) [Emphasis added]

Interesting bit of parenthetical hedging there, yes?

Rand Paul, son of the former presidential candidate Ron Paul, is as libertarian in his orientation as his father. His victory buoyed the Tea Partiers enough that they will be pouring energy and money into his campaign until November. Given the over-all pissiness of the voters this year, Mr. Paul might turn out to be a formidable candidate, especially in that conservative state. The Republican establishment might not be happy, but the Democratic establishment shouldn't be any too thrilled either.

Finally, the election that LAT and most other media centers consider a crucial tell: the Pennsylvania special election to fill the late Jack Murtha's House seat.

Probably the most significant outcome, however, was the Democratic victory in a special House race in rural Pennsylvania. The district — anti-abortion, gun-loving, wary of Washington — is precisely the sort of place Republicans need to prevail to win back the House.

But Democrat Mark Critz, running on a parochial platform of job creation, easily defeated GOP businessman Tim Burns, who sought to turn the contest into a referendum on Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).

Now, I happen to agree that the Republicans should have won this seat, at least in theory, but the man who did win just happened to be an aide to Rep. Murtha. Murtha, a conservative Democrat, kept winning because he kept on the right side of his constituents' values and kept bringing home the bacon. Rep. Murtha was the master of pork. It didn't matter who was in the White House or who the Speaker of the House was. He brought projects and jobs home to Pennsylvania. It makes sense that one of his own staffers had a sizable leg up. Tim Burns didn't take that into consideration and ran on a questionable thesis.

If the election results on Tuesday night showed anything (and I'm not certain it did), it was that the voters right now are in an ornery mood, and they are not interested in being manipulated by the current owners of government. If that holds true through November, well, anything can happen. Both parties should be nervous.

And I find that refreshing.

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Anonymous Jamie said...

If the Unemployment rate stays over nine, everyone in DC is gonna get a pink slip

9:12 PM  

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