Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Local Lessons to Learn from Virginia, New Jersey and NY-23 (UPDATED)

Well, it seems like the death of the GOP, as predicted by Obama supporters and Dem operatives, may be a bit premature. In a clear repudiation of the politics of bigger government, massive spending, and the Obama Cult of Personality, voters in Virginia and New Jersey voted to try their luck with the GOP and elected two Republican governors, despite heavy campaigning and a huge investment of personal political capital by The One.

In a nice touch, supporters of Republican Chris Christie, who won in NJ, reportedly chanted "Yes We Can" as he took the stage in his victory speech.

Fox News said:

Republican Party leaders were quick to claim the victories as a sign that Americans are rebelling against Democratic policies in Washington. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said the victories marked a "clear rejection" of "tax and spend policies" in Washington.

And it's not just Fox. From Politico:

The off-year elections were, in two big races, an unmistakable rebuke of Democrats, reshuffling Obama’s political circumstances in ways likely to have severe near-term consequences for his policy agenda and larger governing strategy.

On the other hand, the Democrats won in the often-strange race for New York's 23rd Congressional District, in which Conservative challenger Doug Hoffman and GOP-candidate Dede Scozzafava split the vote and allowed Democrat Bill Owens to sneak into office in a largely right-leaning district, after many big-name Republicans repudiated the chosen GOP candidate and backed Hoffman. Scozzafava's decision to drop out of the race and endorse Hoffman only added to the spectacle.

While it's probably true that the NJ and Virgina races turned mostly on local issues, that's a bright spot for us here locally, as we anticipate that in the U.S. Senate race (and perhaps some other down-ballot races), the White House and Obama are expected to strenuously defend Obama's old Senate seat from presumed GOP nominee Mark Kirk. Obama's inability to transform his star power to local Dem candidates bodes well for negating the boost that Obama's personal stamp might bring to the Dem Senate nominee, which we current presume will be the lackluster and ehtics-challenged Alexi Giannoulias.

Fox once again has it right:

So the setbacks demonstrate the difficulty of presidential leadership following a campaign built on promises of unity followed by divisive policies and a relentless campaign approach toward big legislative issues like the stimulus and health care bills.

"What this is tonight, this victory here tonight, is a warning shot, and it says to the moderate Democrats in the House that they ought to think twice about continuing to pursue the policies of this White House and (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi," said Virginia Republican Rep. Eric Cantor.

Dems, of course, would like to believe that NY-23 was the only race that was a referendum on the Obama agenda, but it seems to me that the opposite is true. NY-23 was a lot more about GOP self-destruction than the triumph of Obamapolitiks.

In fact, NY-23, is a prime example of what happens when the GOP turns to fratricide and cannot settle on a consensus candidate to do battle with the Dems.

It's a lesson to be learned here in Illinois where some conservatives continue to insist that the only way to victory is to throw all non-believers off the reservation and abandon support of Congressman Mark Kirk, who is the only GOP contender that has any hope to take on the Dem war machine and win the U.S. Senate seat in November 2010.

UPDATED 12:30 p.m.: Here's a Daily Herald article that gives the perspective of new IL GOP leader Pat Brady on the local implications of the result of NY-23 here for Mark Kirk's senate bid. Brady appears to dismiss the chances of conservative candidates such as Pat Hughes to mount any kind of serious threat to Kirk. I agree, of course, but I found it telling that the head of the state party agrees too.


8th District Committeeman said...

TA said:"It's a lesson to be learned here in Illinois where some conservatives continue to insist that the only way to victory is to throw all non-believers off the reservation and abandon support of Congressman Mark Kirk, who is the only GOP contender that has any hope to take on the Dem war machine and win the U.S. Senate seat in November 2010."

I wholeheartedly concur. Too many people want to cut off their nose to spite their face.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It's a message that the electorate wants REPRESENTATION of their priorities as well as beliefs. Sentiments to purge the party of "non-believers" is inconsistent with the principles of representative government. All 3 elections provide that lesson. NJ and VA instruct the Democrats and Obama. NY-23 to the more conservative wing of the Republican Party.

Anonymous said...


Let's not forget that the candidate picked by the local Republican party chairmen turned around and endorsed the Democrat right before the election.

Team America said...

Noted, Anon 9:08, and that whole situation was truly a mess. I don't know where the GOP found her (and I don't know that I'd have voted for Scozzafava myself), but that's now water under the bridge. Bottom line, Mark Kirk is no Dede Scozzafava.

The only take-away that matters for us here, today, is that if the GOP fails to stand together, there's no way to beat the Dems. We all have to decide who we want to defeat more - other Republicans, or the Dems. If we pick the former, you can bet that you'll enjoy representation that gives you none of what you want, instead of only most of what you want.

As they say, don't let "perfect" be the enemy of good.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:08:

If you were personally attacked like the Republican was in ads and statements made by the Conservative Candidate, would you then turn around and endorse him?

Go do your homework and learn the rest of the story. Although she wasn't my type of Republican, I can understand why she did it although I'm not happy about it.

Ugly campaigns result in ugly actions and ugly results. We've had plenty of examples of this in Illinois and Lake County, for major seats and for local seats.

So what is the lesson to be learned here?

Louis G. Atsaves

Anonymous said...

Hard to see how the GOP stands together when a good candidate like Dan Sugrue is having his petitions reviewed for errors by Kevin Artl, the Exec Director of the House GOP.

Anonymous said...

ANON 9:37:

Sugrue is reviewing Hebda's petition's also so what is your point? If a challenge is filed then we can talk. Many people review petitions as a way to see where a base of support is not just to knock off the opponent.

BY the way, Hebda is a good candidate too. Instead of complaining why don't you take Team America's advice and go work for your candidate.

Anonymous said...

Winners/pups from last night

us-gop cleaned up in democrat suburbs in bergen county and nova which are their version of the 10th for the first time in 20 years. if this continues, we are gold. We havent had this kind of success in decades.


mark-he's a juicy target, jury's out.


coulson-RINOS and establishment bums were the target of voters. shes finished and likely to face the slaughterhouse-as she deserves. I'm sure your pals down at the ward offices will find you a job, beth.

former pup flack elisabeth smith-the old hag lost her 4th straight election in democrat territory going back to 2006. she got creamed in new jersey with corzine. unlikely to ever work in politics again. couldn't happen to a more incompetent individual. mogge is next.

pup,hamos,garrett.schoenberg, daniel biss, bean,every other suburban dem. indepedents are on the R side now and these states didn't have a blago bomb to explode. The suburbs are going to be a killing field for democrat campaigns next year. start to familiarize yourself with the term represenative chang, senator kirk, represenattive segrue.


Anonymous said...

Anon 9:46-
If Kevin Artl wanted a copy of Sugrue's petitions to see his base of support, he could have saved himself some money and just asked Dan for them.
Its bad and divisive at a time when we need unity.

Anonymous said...


While i understand you have picked a candidate in the 59th, I would wait to hear what Hebda has to say. I think you will like her views from what I have read in your posts. She is from the heart of the district, Vernon Hills, and is loved by every person that meets her. Hebda has the most experience as she is a VH's trustee so she will hit the ground running. She has taught most of the kids in VH's as she is a pre-school teacher so she has a built in connection to the voters. There is a reason she got 1700 signatures in under a week.

Anonymous said...

ANON 10:03

If your rational holds true then are you saying Sugrue is being devisive because he pulled Hebda's petitions? He could have just gone and asked her.

Why did Manian run then, is he devisive?

Easy said...

I don't think taking a look at someone's petitions is divisive. A lot of circulators and a lot signatures demonstrate a lot of support. Something a candidate would have no problem wanting to share.

And in that same vein, if you do not have a lot of circulators nor petitions, it is going to be hard to make the argument that as a candidate you have the ground game needed to beat the dems.

Just my humble thoughts. I know there are some on this blog who think it best that the candidate alone circulate petitions, I am not of that opinion.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Louis Atsaves @ 9:36 is spot on. Ugly GOP primaries and infighting lose general elections.
We have great opportunities to take state house races and statewide races. Only we can stop us.

Team America said...

FOKLAES- sorry, but I had to take down that last comment. You went a bit over the line with your comments at the end on the IL GOP leadership. I'm not a fan of how Dangerous Dan Sugrue has been treated either, but let's stay away from the drive-by attacks on Artl and Cross.

Anonymous said...


I'm generally a big believer in Reagan's 11 commandment, but the hits weren't personal, they were political.

Cross's name shows up repeatedly on that clout list for the U of I, and he's as dirty as coulson's pal john shimkus who allowed a gop congressman to prey on house pages. We have a choice, we can get rid of our bad guys or we can let the democrats get rid of our bad guys. These republicans-hastert, mckenna,dillard, cross, shimkus are why our party's reputation has fallen into the gutter. I'm sick of being lectured by our leadership that we should tolerate this sort of corruption and incompetence from them. In case you missed the headlines we've beens slaughtered lately.

King Louis, I disagree with you. Healthy parties have strong candidates who air differences and then win in the general no matter what. people like coulson should never show up on a gop ballot anywhere and the 2000 primary gave mark a much better organization and team in place to run with against gash than she got from sitting on her hands.


Anonymous said...

When I ran a number of campaigns in the past with primary opposition, I always pulled the opposition petitions.

Usually the petitions are OK and will pass muster but you can always find out who is supporting the opponent and who helped the opponent circulate his/her petitions to get a better read on things. Checking addresses and registrations will knock out a few voters but usually campaigns file enough to survive such challenges, so a formal challenge doesn't always follow such an inspection.

Pulling petitions of opponents isn't always a hostile act. It IS a useful way of gathering information and a lot of sharp people who I know run campaigns always do this for that purpose.

The House Repubs may be just trying to expand their mailing list. Time will tell on this.

Louis G. Atsaves

Gold Fish said...


If you beleive Kirk had a better shot in the 2000 general because of a primary, then what are you worried about with Coulson in the 10th or Manian and Hebda in the State house 59th. Leadership does not vote in these elections the voters do. If the voters like Sugrue then he will win. If they do not like Coulson then she will loose.

With the 59th you are going to find each candidate has their own supporters. Nothing like a good old fashioned primary to see which candidate will represent the republicans next fall.

Anonymous said...


There is a difference between a heathy, vigorous primary contest and an ugly one. The first Kirk primary win was a good example of that. The current bunch running to replace him so far have been behaving themselves, but 2/2/10 is a ways off yet.

I have no problems with primary contests as a rule. It gets campaigns organized and off and running a lot earlier. I DO have a problem with whispering campaigns, character assassinations, flat out fibbing on your opponent's position and other not so "nice" things. Five years later and I'm still waiting to see those "famous" photographs of a public official sleeping at her desk on a legislative floor. Now when I ask those who claimed to have them, I get the beet red race look in response.

But when things get ugly, there are no winners. NY23 seems to have fallen into that category.

Louis G. Atsaves

Easy said...

So let me sum up the FOKLAES position

Primaries are good when they can take out the moderate Republican i do not like (i.e. Coulson)


Primaries are bad when they threaten the moderate Republican I do like (i.e. Kirk).

This may seem like a critique, but it really isn't. I do consider consistency a highly overrated trait.

Anonymous said...

Mark Kirk stands for things, he's a national security superstar who will be a regular on sunday morning talk shows 13 months from now. He's a leader and has ideas-witness the suburban strategy. Despite a few bad votes, he's a great moderate.

Coulson was endorsed by blago, she's pro-beuracrat union, anti-small business, pro-teachers union, fiscal socialist, and has a campaign run by the democrat machine.

Just as peter fitzgerald and denny hastert were pro-life, but one a good man the other awful, there are different kinds of moderates.

King Louis dead on, but I'd add the caveat that it's better to see the dirt of our people in the primary where we can make a course correction than in a general when we're screwed (witness bush's dui that came out the weekend before the general in 2000).


Anonymous said...

Ugly campaigns result in ugly actions and ugly results. We've had plenty of examples of this in Illinois and Lake County, for major seats and for local seats.

So what is the lesson to be learned here?

That perhaps Rs have a tendency to look upon Moderates and Conservatives as two separate cities--and the first reaction on both sides is to run out and attack the other side's troops and surround their city?

There seems to be lots that we could do before having to do that--and maybe we just haven't been smart enough in the past to exercise those options on a grand scale.

Just sayin'.


Anonymous said...

Sorry. The 2:06 should have been signed "Anonymous?".

Anonymous said...

And think about what's really changed in the last couple of days.

Sure, what's happened in Virginia, NJ and NY-23 is going to get some riled up even more, but do you really believe that it's going to have a huge impact on those who have already decided to support Kirk--and even if it did, that anyone has the organization required right now to really take advantage of that over the long haul? The majority of those on our side right now WANT to take this Seat back v. give it to the Ds again.

I think the story about the so-called FOX and Dem "alliance" re: Wallace is much more interesting--for many, many reasons.

That one, I believe, might have potential for a best-selling political thriller IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Woops. Sorry. 2:29 should have been signed by "Anonymous?".

Anonymous said...

Oh, Dear. Everyone decide to take a late lunch and not include me, or is it just that odd and mysterious effect I seem to have on some people? lol

Anonymous said...

I agree. Kirk is no Scozzafava. He's solid on taxes, national security, and health care (I also believe he's against card check). He learned his lesson with his cap and trade vote and I don't think that would happen again. From what I'm reading here, Coulson is more of a Scozzafava.

Anonymous said...

Mark's having conniptions about a tea party uprising. Time to go back on the offensive against Hughes. Team I suggest hitting him from the right since that's where his support is. Perhaps if he's given money to democrats, written a letter to the editor supporting a tax hike ect.

you were right, mark isn't safe yet.


Anonymous said...

The sad thing is: Coulson IS Scozzafava...

The good thing is: we're gonna have a primary and elect our nominee....

It won't be decided by a bunch of party hacks ata pizza parlor.

However, sounds like some hacks with the New Trier Republican Organization are trying to do some shady deals to favor their Buddy, Dick Green.

I guess that's the answer for guys like Green who can't get anyone to contribute to your campaign.

After all, if you have to pump $220,000 of your own money into your campaign, then I guess you need guys like Tolbert Chisholm to rig things for you.

I guesss the NTRO has learned a few Chicago tricks from Obama/Daley/Emanuel and company.

Anonymous said...

"From what I'm reading here, Coulson is more of a Scozzafava".

When Kirk votes to represent his district that's ok. When Coulson does the same that's a dirty-rotten RINO. Dude, FOKLAES, get your facts straight. Coulson's a fiscal conservative & pro-small business (and her votes in the IL House prove this). Although the rest you say MAY be true - you have to get off your good ol' boy jive because folks like ANON 3:01 think you are accurate. ["From what I'm reading here, Coulson is more of a Scozzafava"].

Chill FOKLAES and leave your woman hater chat for a 1950's sit-com. You're creeping me out, tonight. Spew your hate for a democrat - not republicans who (like your bud, Kirk)represent their districts (like Coulson).

Anonymous said...

Coulson is not a moderate she is a RINO to say no to. Winnetka isn't socialist yet, no matter what people say.

She is in bed with the teachers Unions (we're pro student), her campaign is run by machine democrats (we love our caryn garber's and team americas) she's pro-beuracrat union (we're small government Republicans), she has no national security experience (we're hawks not doves), she's pro-blago (we tend to not like democrats that go to jail), she's been a doormat for democrats (we kinda like republicans with spines and ideas) and I could go on but I'll stop.

Scozzafaza was at least pro-gun, she's not.

we'd like a republican from the republican wing of the republican party. Thank you.


Crazy4glf said...

One should be careful when generalizing from a very specific situation to the nation at large.

Governor Corzine was not terribly popular and had some issues with a state vehicle, among other things.

I do have to wonder about McDonnell's true beliefs and think that we will see how closely aligned he keeps his agenda to the oft-cited thesis; which did not espouse the wide-open tent many I know would prefer.

I think that the events leading up to the NY-23 race is not good for moderate Republicans, Independents, or Democrats who prefer to select our own faith practices (vote Christian or being Christian makes one uniquely qualified to hold public office), reading material (provisons of the Patriot Act), and healthcare procedures (Choice), thank you very much.

Finally, it appears that the 'Thoughtful Independent' is seeking the endorsement of a not so independent former Governor. So much for voting the person not the party, as the man himself once asked of those in his District (which he proceeded to demonstrate disdain for not a year later - again, his words, not mine).

A lesson one might take from this, as McCain may or may not have learned, is that one should be careful who you associate with or hitch your wagon to.

Again, I must say that the last few posts by TA have been fairly objective and without overt insults, distortion, and the like. I could get used to this!

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that there are no posts on TA related to Kirk's tremendous political blunder in trying to gain Palin's endorsement? I know you outwardly support Kirk, but a modicum of objectivity would be nice.

I have heard you banging away at Hughes for his alleged campaign mistakes, but this Memo by Kirk to Palin has to take the cake so far in the US Senate primary.

The only conclusion I see that is reasonable is that he is sure he has no conservative base and the lack of that is a real issue for him in the primary. To even think that Palin would endorse him (a person who is opposite of Palin on all major issues) is laughable...and a very despirate move due to his fear of a true conservative challenger - Hughes.

Would be interesting to see a bit of objective reporting on the Senate race (i.e., acknowledge Kirk's huge mistake) or at least interesting to see how the Kirk supports could possibly try and spin this...have not found a positive blog or article yet on this latest Kirk move.

Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but interested in people's thoughts.

Anonymous said...

It was really sloppy work to directly send paperwork without having a surrogate feel palin's people out about it first. With a surrogate there was deniability, now mark risks damaging his reputation if this doesn't come about. Now the only way he can win is if palin endorses him, and even then he's blown his moderate credentials. If not, he won't have his right flank and his left flank is open to attack by alexi.


Anonymous said...

"A lesson one might take from this, as McCain may or may not have learned, is that one should be careful who you associate with or hitch your wagon to."


Now YOU admit one must be careful who one associates with. I won't go into Obama and Wright, Rezko, Blago, Daley, Emil, Madigan, Giannoulis et al. But, Julie Hamos' wagon is more tightly hitched to the crew just mentioned than Coulson's could ever be.

No exchange of money, manpower, etc. with Coulson, but completely all over Hamos who will be another rubber stamp for Rahm.

Team America said...

Anon 11:36 - I was teaching law school last night so I did not have time to put anything up on the Palin thing. Something will go up today, rest assured.

Anonymous said...

Exit polls on Tuesday clearly showed that support or non-support for Obama had no relevance on the individual votes in NJ and VA. These decisions were local decisions based on local issues and competition.
What TA has to be very concerned with is Kirk seeking the Palin endorsement, as it is my OPINION that will be the beginning of the end his political career.

Anonymous said...

Ther NTRO has not learned any dirty tricks. They just know Dick Green is a better candidate than Dold.
Dold is quickly earning the name "Crybobby" because of all the whining he and his supporters are doing.