Yesterday's Elections--A Rejection of Obama?

The three races that were the most watched yesterday were the two gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, and the Congressional race in the 23rd District of New York. The Republicans won the first two, the Democrats the last. Political pundits everywhere are trying to decide what it all means. I have the answer, of course. :)

Was this a rejection of President Obama? No, not of him personally, but there is increasing concern over his policies. Obama has proven to be far, far more liberal than most people expected he would be, and the majority of Americans aren't ready to go there yet. They are beginning to realize what this man stands for and believes, and the elections in Virginia and New Jersey should inform him of that. For the Democrats to lose New Jersey, a consistently solid, northeastern blue state, was somewhat astounding. To spin this as a rejection of Corzine is self-serving; this loss, plus the huge Republican win in Virginia, indicates, among other things, disgruntlement with Obama's policies. He has been in power for about 10 months now--and nothing is significantly better. He has accomplished zero, zilch, nada, except to expand the power of the government, something most Americans don't want, at least not to the extent he is doing it. And things are not going to get better, because he and the Democrats have no clue how to build an economy. They are going about it in exactly the wrong way, so it surprises no one with a modicum of economic knowledge that the unemployment rate has gone up and the economy is stagnant (not improving, as Obama and his media lap dogs try to tell us). Virginia and New Jersey are clear indications that the swing independent voters, who put Obama into the Oval Office, are not happy, and have swung back to the Republicans. For the moment. A democratic electorate is always fickle.

In another way, it isn't surprising that the Democrats lost these two governorships. A significant portion of Obama's support last year came from starry-eyed, utopian young people who, quite frankly, don't have the education to be intelligent voters (remember, I teach in a college). They haven't the foggiest idea what makes a country successful (they do, however, if they attend and listen to my classes). Such voters are easily swayed by a smooth, silver-tongued orator (remember the Hitler Youth). But they don't generally vote in off-year elections. So without that support, the Democrats were without a huge portion of their base from last year. How long Obama can continue to mesmerize these youth is unknown; they certainly weren't mesmerized enough to get out and vote yesterday. He and the Democrats will be in trouble without their help.

However, the Congressional race in the 23rd District of New York indicates that perhaps a swing too far to the right is unacceptable, too. Of course, this is just one district, just as there were only two governors races. So nothing absolute should be insisted upon in trying to analyze this. The Republicans are in a bit of a mess; its leadership sways between center-right to center-left, but its grass roots base is solidly conservative. And so they lost control of a Congressional seat that had been safely Republican for a long time. That isn't good. They need to get their act together or they'll go into the mid-term elections next year floundering without direction or purpose.

Obama is vulnerable. Nothing he is doing is succeeding--domestically or internationally, at least not yet. And chances are, given the principles which he believes, he will not succeed. Unless, of course, one wants a weakened America and a greater government role in the economy and our individual lives. On that basis, he is pursuing the correct path. But most Americans don't want that. Mr. Obama better pull back closer to the center. He's been told that for months now with the tax "tea parties," the town hall meetings, and now the elections in New Jersey and Virginia of Republican governors. Whether he heeds the warning or not, only time will tell. It was not he, yesterday, who was rejected; but his policies are far from popular with a huge segment--a voting segment--of the American public.