So here are my thoughts on yesterday's elections:
The independents have swung. The dems have dominated the last two elections the same way the GOP dominated those previous...by convincing the independents. I think these elections were a referendum on the economy, and the economy is not good. Not only that, but I think the independents made a statement that taxing and spending isn't the way to fix the economy. In Virginia, there was a 25 point swing - one quarter of the electorate. In New Jersey it was 20 points. And the exit polls showed overwhelming swing in independents from dem to GOP. McDonnell even won the more liberal areas of the state. If unemployment is still bad in a year (which I think it will be) and the economy is still lagging (ditto) then I think the independents will continue to reject the dems.
The Bush effect is dead. Bush is gone, and so is the dem's favorite scapegoat. Corzine repeatedly tried to hang George W. Bush around his opponent's neck and it didn't work. I wonder if President Obama took note of this?
The GOP must work with, not against, its base. I'm tired of hearing about the right wing base hurting the GOP. Scozzafava was selected by a group of career politicians without any input from the voters. As a result, the conservatives of NY 23 got a liberal candidate who was Left of even the democrat, thus clearing the way for a third party candidate that effectively split the vote. The conservatives simply didn't have a candidate. Had there been a primary, or even some opinion polls done, this could have been avoided. Hoffman lost by 3-4 pts, while DeDe carried about 5-6 pts even after she dropped out. If Hoffman had an R instead of an I beside his name maybe the outcome would be different. Who knows? At any rate, the base clearly rejected the liberal candidate because it was liberalism that damaged the party prior to 2006. Michael Steele and the GOP leaders have to wise up to the obvious. The GOP lost in '06 and '08 because they strayed from conservative ideals, NOT because they embraced them. The GOP leaders in NY 23 repeated that mistake and paid a big price, allowing a moderate dem to win the election.
Social issues aren't as important in a campaign. Deeds attacked McDonnell for being anti-abortion, and his close affiliation with the religious right. It didn't work. Hoffman ran on social issues rather than fiscal issues, and it failed. Yet, gay marriage loses on a ballot initiative. This is fascinating. Perhaps I've missed something here. I believe that most Americans share in relatively conservative social issues, but maybe they don't want them involved in politics. Maybe that's because many people adhere to the most basic of conservative principles, that we dictate the rules to the government, not vice versa, regardless of the issue. Perhaps conservatives don't want government involvement in social issues on either side of the aisle. I'm okay with that. Personally, I say let gay marriage, abortion, gun control, etc be decided by individual states. The Left would never allow that. So while it's important to conservatives to have conservative values, those candidates shouldn't flaunt them, at least not as much as they flaunt their fiscal conservatism. McDonnell and Cristie ran on fiscal conservatism and won. Hoffman ran on social conservatism and lost. Again, I'm fine with that. I'll agree to keep the social issues up to the people if the Left will stipulate.
Once again, the people reject gay marriage. This time in blue-state Maine. We'll see how long it takes the Left to involve the courts. To reinforce the point above, does anyone believe that Maine would have elected a conservative candidate who ran on a platform of anti-gay marriage? Nope.
The Tea Parties were more than astroturf. Just ask John Corzine and Creigh Deeds. The tea parties were all about government restraint, and I think they were loud and clear yesterday. It will be interesting to see if the politicians continue to dismiss this movement or choose to actually listen to the fiscal concerns of the citizens.
There IS a litmus test for GOP candidates. I could vote for a pro-gun control candidate. Or a pro-gay marriage candidate. Or a pro-abortion candidate. But I would NEVER vote for a big government, big spending, high taxing candidate. Never. Both parties need to take this to heart because I am most definitely not alone. Social issues are important, and I would be encouraged to know that the candidate I support feels as I do on these issues. But the primary issue in today's politics revolves around the degree of government involvement in people's lives. Yesterday, the people rejected a long-reaching government. I think they did the same in '06 and '08 based on campaign rhetoric. There is no reason to think the same won't happen next year.
It's time to hold the Washington elites accountable. It's disturbing when a GOP candidate withdraws from an election and endorses a democrat candidate. That has a certain "good-ole-boy-network" odor to it. I get the feeling that many politicians, regardless of party, are just milking this thing for all it's worth. They say one thing in front of the camera, and behind closed doors pat each other on the back and laugh about the great con they're pulling on the common folk. Washington just seems like an ancient, exclusive country club that doesn't like the idea of newcomers intruding on their gig. See Sarah Palin, Ross Perot, Doug Hoffman, Jesse Ventura and Ralph Nader for examples. The elites have a stranglehold on power and will resist any "we-the-people" revolt.
So, today I will write a check to the Chris Simcox campaign for Senate. He is running against John McCain in Arizona and I hope he wins. McCain is a fine and decent man, but I think he's lost touch with the common American. I encourage my fellow grassroots conservatives to do the same. If we can't form a third party, then let's redefine the GOP as a party of low taxes, limited government, free market solutions, energy independence, personal responsibility and strong national defense.
The social issues can be decided by the people. If government is involved, then the 6 principles above should govern any conservative party. I believe Chris Simcox adheres to those where John McCain has fallen short in the past.