Neither [the Virginia nor the New Jersey] gubernatorial election amounted to a referendum on the president....Why not? Read... read... read... read... oh, here it is:
White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Tuesday's races were in no way a reflection of public opinion about the president or his agenda. "Whatever's driving these voters, it wasn't attitudes toward the president," he said, noting that local issues and attitudes toward the candidates on the ballots were the major influences.Why not? Because David Axelrod says not.
Axelrod warned against extrapolating into the future the shift among independents. He said he believed that many people who called themselves Republicans in the past now call themselves independents but are still voting for Republican candidates. "I don't think they portend long-term trends," he said.Noted.
He said the only race with real national implications was the congressional contest in Upstate New York.
To be fair to Balz, he did get a Republican, Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, to agree with the proposition that the 2009 election was not "a referendum on the president." But on the substance of it, Barbour observed that "[t]he president's policies are very unpopular, and they are hurting Democrats in Virginia, New Jersey, New York."
In the NYT, Adam Nagourney says:
The results in the New Jersey and Virginia races underscored the difficulties Mr. Obama is having transforming his historic victory a year ago into either a sustained electoral advantage for Democrats or a commanding ideological position over conservatives in legislative battles....Let's see now.... who to go to for quotes?
... Mr. Christie and Mr. McDonnell won after decidedly playing down their conservative views on social issues.....
The critical question after this setback [in NY 23] is whether the conservative groups who had clearly signaled that they intended to press their advantage and challenge other Republican candidates they considered too moderate would now have the impetus or support to continue down that road.
“[McDonnell] focused on the issues that are on people’s minds: jobs, taxes,” said Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, the head of the Republican Governors Association. “I don’t think there are a lot of governors who are more conservative than I am. But I try to run campaigns on what people are interested in.”...The Wall Street Journal enthuses:
[David] Axelrod acknowledged that Mr. Obama’s supporters had not shown up in New Jersey and Virginia, but he said he did not believe that meant the end of the Obama coalition.
“That doesn’t mean they won’t come out for us,” he said. “I think they’ll come out for national races. But this wasn’t a national race.”...
The GOP has been flat on its back since the Obama ascendancy in last year's presidential election, but Republican Bob McDonnell's blowout victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the Virginia governor's race and Chris Christie's defeat of Jon Corzine in New Jersey should help dispel the party's gloom.
Yesterday in advance of the results, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was dismissing commentary on the impending bad news as "navel gazing." If so, navel gazing's bad reputation is suddenly looking up. The onrushing Obama Democratic machine has just hit a significant speed bump....
Mr. McDonnell ran straight into the teeth of the blue trend, explicitly campaigning against the policies of the Obama presidency. In at least one swing state that matters, the Obama Democratic ascendancy is on hold....
The overweening liberal-progressive confidence of late suddenly looks misplaced. The party's Blue Dogs have a basis for their misgivings. Republicans, too timid until now, have an opening to find ideas to give obviously anxious voters an alternative to the party in power.IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo said:
"Mr. McDonnell ran straight into the teeth of the blue trend"
But not straight into the yellow teeth of the blue trend, surely.