Democrats will be sitting in the governor's office in Virginia and New Jersey next year, but as the White House sees it, Tuesday's elections exposed Democratic flaws, not Republican ones.Now it's certainly true that Kaine didn't run as the liberal trial lawyer he is, but come on. Kilgore ALSO ran as a conservative, and yet the voters of Virginia chose a Dem to replace their current Dem governor. New Jersey voters also selected a Dem to replace the Dem governor of that state. I wonder if the Democrats will magnify their "weakness" by continuing to beat Republicans. I also wonder if the GOP is simply trying to fool the voters, or if they actually have themselves fooled. Sometimes it might be best to simply say, "Hey, they beat us. Next time we'll beat them."
President George W. Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, said they showed the Democrats are "out of touch" with voters because Virginia's new governor ran as a conservative.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine soundly defeated Republican Jerry Kilgore in a GOP-leaning state, despite a last-minute campaign appearance for Kilgore by Bush.
Virginia's vote was considered a bellwether election for both parties and a popularity contest for the president.
History suggests that the Dems ought not look at this as too much of a bellweather, however. In 2001, the Democrats won both seats and the GOP picked up enough Senate seats in the following election to take the Senate back and make Jim Jeffords' book a worst-seller. 4 years before that, the GOP won both races and it was the Dems who gained seats in Congress (the Senate balance was unchanged).
The GOP, I think, has more important things to worry about than trying to spin election losses into gold. The first one, of course, is to get their own house under control. Rather than simply running as conservatives, they ought to try ruling like them:
AT $286.4 BILLION, the highway bill just passed by Congress is the most expensive public works legislation in US history. In addition to funding the interstate highway system and other federal transportation programs, it sets a new record for pork-barrel spending, earmarking $24 billion for a staggering 6,376 pet projects, spread among virtually every congressional district in the land. The enormous bill -- 1,752 pages long -- wasn't made public until just before it was brought to a vote, and so, as The New York Times noted, ''it is safe to bet that none of the lawmakers, not even the main authors, had read the entire package."The pork in this one bill alone would have made up half the "cuts" the GOP tried (and failed) to pass this week. Yet according to one GOP staffer:
That didn't stop them from voting for it. It passed 412 to 8 in the House, 91 to 4 in the Senate.
''It's not as big as what (Republican Chairman Don Young would) like," a committee spokesman said, ''but is still a very good bill and will play a major role in addressing transportation and highway needs."So long as the GOP insists on playing FDR's big brother, they have nothing to complain about when Dems run as "conservatives." The way the GOP spends, "conservative" just means, "Save a little of that pork roast for me."
Copyright 2005 El Borak, inc. Makers of Republican Congress brand inaction figures. Strapon backbone sold separately.