As a resident of the People's Republic of Maryland, or Omalleystan if you prefer, I didn't have a dog in yesterday's elections. I, like many other on this site, were saddened that Ken Cuccinelli, a gentleman and a class act, lost a narrow election to the ongoing RICO violation that is Terry McAuliffe. People deserve the government they elect and we'll see if the Commonwealth is better off four years from now than it is today.
First, on Viginia. I think everyone following the race knew Cuccinelli's campaign had periods when it was in disarray. There is a lot of fingerpointing but a couple of salient facts remain. The Cuccinelli loss did not contribute to significant losses in the Virginia Senate or House of Delegates. Terry McAuliffe will be forced to deal with a fairly conservative legislature and McAuliffe, being McAuliffe, is much more fond of spending Other People's Money than of hard work. We can probably predict stasis as the outcome.
The second point is that the RNC threw in the towel on this race for reasons only they can explain. As Erick pointed out yesterday, they spent $9 million to help elect Bob McDonnell in 2009. They could only find $3 million to help Ken Cuccinelli. When you consider who will get your next monetary donation, ask yourself if the trailer park Machiavelli's at the RNC will do anything worthwhile with it.
If the Attorney General's race is resolved in the favor of Obenshain, we might get to see McAuliffe frog-marched out of the governor's mansion.
I don't blame the Libertarians for this. I don't blame them for getting behind an astroturf candidate who was financed by the Democrats to siphon votes from Cuccinelli. I don't blame them for voting for a Libertarian who was in favor of increased taxes and an expansion of federal authority. The guy was in favor of buggery and free dope so it is understandable how a political philosophy that focuses on satisfying the most primal human needs fielded this candidate. In all seriousness, it looks like most of the votes the Libertarian received came from Democrats who couldn't bear the thought of voting for someone as corrupt as McAuliffe... this, too, explains the small number of votes cast for the Libertarian.
On New Jersey. Governor Christie won. No big surprise there. But as somebody famous once said to somebody else, "you will know them by their fruits."
The question I have for any Blue State governor is what have you done to advance the cause of either conservatism (the answer to this is always "not much, I don't believe in that crap") or the GOP in general? By this I mean, did you help build the party or did you build a cult of personality.
If you go through my commentary on Mitt Romney you will see that the center of my critique over two elections was that he left the Massachusetts GOP in a shambles. No matter what his approval ratings or accomplishments, those were the function of Romney focusing on Romney. The state party was ignored and reduced to an irrelevant husk.
I think the same question is appropriate for Christie? What have you done in New Jersey besides build a machine focused on promoting Chris Christie's career. Last night the answer was pretty clear: Nothing. Christie was in the election to win big for Christie. He did. Good for him. He didn't move the political needle in New Jersey one iota. That bodes ill for how a President Christie will govern.
What does it mean?
Last night, Christie said in his victory speech,
"Maybe folks in Washington should tune in their TV right now to see how it’s done."
But when the losing candidate complains that her party threw her under the bus:
She thanked aides who “withstood the onslaught of betrayal from our own political party.”
And [State Senator Barbara Buono] recalled her decision to back down and let party leaders install their choice for state party chairman like this:
“I took one for the team. The only problem, I realized too late there was no team.”
you are left with the feeling there is part of the puzzle you're not being allowed to see.
One has to wonder why, if Governor Christie represents the way the GOP must run for office to win and if Ken Cuccinelli represents the way that guarantees the GOP will lose, the Democrat party ignored the New Jersey race -- to the extent that their candidate basically accused the NJ Democrat party of throwing the election -- and hurled everything they had into the race to beat the guy who, according to the conventional wisdom, didn't have a chance.
I think the results from last night should leave us with grave concerns about a Christie candidacy to the extent that it does anything more than serve as a sop to Christie's immense ego. Like a James Bond martini, it leaves one shaken not stirred.