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Referendum on Obama, the GOP . . . or Just a Return to Healthy Political Reality?

In his USA Today column, Jonah Goldberg writes that the likely results of today's elections show that the GOP--as a party committed to ideas distinct from watered down versions of Democrat liberalism--is a concept that is not only alive and well but it is a concept that is also capable of thriving and flowering, even in today's allegedly "changed" political climate.   Moreover, it calls into question (or, rather, calls out) a good deal of the triumphalism that marked Obama's most devoted supporters in the wake of his victory a year ago.  It suggests that Obama's election was more of a "let's give these guys a chance" and less of a "let's change the entire way we do business!" kind of sentiment.  The "change" Americans believed in during the '08 election, appears to have been a lot less far reaching than Obama and his true believers might have hoped. 

In that same spirit, Paul Mirengoff today at Powerline reminds us that breathless suggestions about the meaning of today's elections--from either side--are best served with a paper bag.  Wrap around mouth and breathe.  These elections are not a referendum on Barack Obama.  Neither are they going to be an indication of a coming Republican resurgence.  What they will do is re-establish in the popular mind the political reality.  America remains a pretty evenly divided country with respect to political opinion.  Barack Obama won an election; he has not succeeded in his efforts at political conversion.  The GOP as a party distinct from Democrats and defined by a common-sense sort of center-right conservatism, is a thing that will not be rolled.  It lives to fight another day.  But it remains to be seen whether it will fight.

Mirengoff and Goldberg are both right, however, in taking appropriate good cheer from the likely GOP success of the day for the reason that it may chasten Democrats uneasy with Pelosi's and the President's proposed and sweeping reforms of the health care industry.  It is true, as Goldberg notes, that: "Democrats might like health care reform, but they like getting re-elected even more."  Human nature ain't always pretty.  But it is comforting, in a sense, to know that it can't be changed.
Categories > Elections

Discussions - 1 Comment

The best thing that might come out of a (hope! hope!) GOP sweep tonight: It might scare enough marginal district House Democrats and red state Senate Democrats that the destruction of the private market in health insurance is averted.

On the other hand few of the GOP's and conservatism's long term problems seem to have really gotten better. The rise of mostly decentralized conservative activism in NY -23 is a good sign, but the rest is that the Democrats are trying to hold on to a apir of governorships at a time of high unemployment in which the Democrats control all the elective branches of the federal government - and its an off-year election to boot. A GOP sweep would mean more than David Frum would have you believe, but the fact that Corzine (even with all his money) is even close in New Jersey is a sign of coalition building problems for the GOP.

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