There will be a lot of talk about how this off-year election was somehow set-back from President Obama. Don't buy it. Off year elections are mostly about local issues, not national temperature checks. There were three elections that were being watched nationally though...
...in New Jersey, Governor Corzine seems to have lost his bid for re-election by about 5%. New Jersey is an incredibly expensive state to live in, so there are always big issues surrounding taxes that resonate with voters.
...in Virginia, an incumbent Democratic governor lost his bid for re-election by a wide margin.
...closer to home, voters elected a Democrat for a Congress in a traditionally Republican seat. Link Here This is the race I find the most interesting, as it speaks to the dual-nature of the Republican party. As I've mentioned many, many times, I'd be a Republican if it were not for the social conservatives who seem to believe that their vision of morality is the only vision that counts. In this particular race you had two Republicans who did split the vote...resulting in the loss...but the split seems to be along the lines of social vs. economic conservatives. Dangerous stuff for a party that already is in the minority. This election says more about the fractured nature of the Republicans than it does about effective campaigning by a Democrat.
No doubt that the Republican spin-machine, lead by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity, will tell glowing tales today of grand GOP victories. That's their job. That's what they do. That isn't necessarily reality.
Americans are an independent lot. We like to work hard, be successful, and do what we want with our money. We also want people staying out of our business. That's a negative against Democrats who want to tax the crap out of everything and punish success. That's also a negative against Republicans who want to impose a code of morality that they themselves have trouble upholding (right Pastor Haggard?, right Newt?). I can hold my nose and vote for a drunken-sailor-spending Democrat because on some level they are trying to do what they view as being right, all be it misguided. I have a tougher time on the Republican side, because of the accusatory nature of holier-than-thou social conservatives who try to use their version of God as a vote-getter.
The late Lee Atwater got it right when he described a "big tent" Republican Party, where there was room for individuals with a variety of views. Unfortunately, the likes of Sarah Palin and other national, socially conservative Republicans s seem to have more of a "members only" tent in mind. That's sad, because it forces many of us hold our noses while voting. In my book, misguided intentions win out over finger-pointing & hypocrisy.