Tuesday night's election results really are stunning. The GOP victory in Virginia was nothing short of a rout. Governor-elect McDonnell was incredibly well focused on jobs and the economy and ran a great campaign.
Likewise, in New Jersey, Chris Christie pulled off an incredible win. Not only did Corzine outspend Christie by a huge amount, but Christie was able to pull off wins in what are traditionally Democratic strongholds in key areas of the state. Granted, most of the problems for Democrats in the Garden State were tied to corruption and Corzine's own inability to keep spending and property taxes in check so it is difficult make too much out of this win for national politics.
What both victories tell us though, is that a clear and concise message for limited government and reigning in spending and taxes and a pro-growth economic agenda can and will win. Republicans have the right message, we have about 9 months to prove to the American people that we mean it for 2010.
As for the NY 23rd, I don't believe for one second that this election is a defeat for conservatives. The Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava was a ridiculously liberal choice and I think correctly challenged from the right by Doug Hoffman. Scozzafava's endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens - who himself had criticized her for being too liberal - only proved Hoffman's point. But why then did Hoffman lose?
Well, he lost by about 5,000 votes and he doesn't live in the district. My understanding is that he lives right on the edge, but not actually in the NY 23rd. Now, while it's perfectly legal, who thinks that anyone trying that in Wisconsin, Louisiana, or any other state where people read this blog would have a snowball's chance in the Sahara of pulling off a win?
I didn't know until after the election that Hoffman didn't reside in the district, but had I known, I certainly wouldn't have thought that he had a chance. It may seem as though it's a technicality to some national folks, but at the local level, it's a very tough thing to overcome.
So that said, what does Hoffman's showing mean? To me I'm glad Scozzafava was forced out. Not because of any social issues, but because she supported big government programs like the stimulus bill and card check. I heard Rudy Giuliani give a great rationale for not endorsing her when he was pressured to do so. Giuliani - who is pro-choice and at least somewhat accepting to the idea of gay marriage or civil unions - refused to support Scozzafava because she didn't meet what he called Ronald Reagan's criteria. Reagan often talked about the need to support candidates with whom we agree 70 or 80 percent of the time. Giuliani explained that wasn't possible with Scozzafava, adding that it is still important to have candidates that fit the area in which they are running.
In New York, Giuliani is a conservative and governed like one. In the South, Giuliani would be a moderate, but no one - at least no one being honest - would ever confuse him for a liberal. The same cannot be said for Scozzafava.
There may still be a civil war within the party - in Senate primaries in Illinois and Florida - but it will play out as it should with primaries where the people decide. I hope that the RNC makes the right choice and stays out of these races and let the people decide the future of the party. That didn't happen in NY and a virtual unknown third party candidate who doesn't live in the district almost won. That's not a loss for conservatives, that's a victory.