Thursday, November 5, 2009

Virginia, NJ voters turn thumbs down on Obama

One year after President Obama swept to power on a promise of “hope” and “change,” American voters got an early chance to pass judgment on his administration. If yesterday’s Republican victories in Democratic strongholds like Virginia and New Jersey are any guide, they don’t like what they see.

While results from around the country were still coming in at press time, the outcome of the race in Virginia is proof positive that the sands have shifted beneath the administration’s feet. Last year, Barack Obama became the first Democrat presidential candidate to win the state since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The Left and their media allies swooned with excitement, and portrayed the 230,000 vote margin of victory as a sure sign that the Republican hold on the state was broken. Democrats were winning the culture wars in what had once been safely Republican territory, it was claimed. Tomes were written performing autopsies on Virginia’s GOP, examining personal rivalries and acrimony, sloppy communication and a demoralized base as reasons for the surprising defeat. Such was the Democrats’ glee that Virginia Republicans were all but added to the registry of endangered species.

A year later, their demise seems greatly exaggerated. Virginia has gone solidly Republican, with the GOP wining the races for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, and, according to the early results, winning them by wide margins. This is bad news indeed for the Democrats, as they current hold six of the state’s 11 Congressional seats. A reenergized state-level GOP organization will now have a full year to raise funds, mobilize support, and make a hard push to put the state back firmly in the red column in next year’s midterm elections.

A similar story has unfolded in New Jersey, where Republican challenger Christopher Christie has defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine – this even as he was outspent 3-1 by the billionaire governor who sunk some $23 million of his own money into the general election race. As is typical of New Jersey politics, the issue of corruption in the state’s government was a campaign hot-button. Yet polls ­­— including today’s exit polls — showed that most voters are worried about taxes and the economy.

The New Jersey result is particularly ominous for Obama, who campaigned for Corzine this past weekend but failed to sway the vote in his favor – another sign of his rapidly fading star power. After witnessing nine months of massive spending surges in the midst of a recession, and detecting no clear plan of how to pay for any of it, it is no wonder that New Jersey voters worried about their taxes and the struggling economy would fail to be impressed by the president’s appeal.

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