Republican conservatives won big on Tuesday night's elections in Virginia and New Jersey, while Bloomberg barely held on to the Mayor's office in New York City, but managed to outspend and get enough votes to keep the seat in the Republican side of the tally.
The big question, however, is exactly what does this shift to the right mean? Is it a reflection on President Obama, the man? Or, is it a signal to the White House that people, while liking the man, are growing tired of his inability to bring about the change he promised and aren't necessarily pleased with the ways and means he and his administration have employed to try and bring about that change. I believe it to be the latter.
The President is still well liked, garnering a 57% likabability rating, and while that is down from the huge 72% he enjoyed soon after taking the oath of office, it is still in the stratosphere when compared to some past Presidents after they had been in office for a year in troubling times. What should be worrying the White House is who those voters were who turned out on Tuesday and cast their votes for conservatives and Republicans. It was moderates and independents, many of whom voted for Obama last year.
While members of the administration are publically saying these governor's elections in New Jersey and Virginia don't say much about the 2010 mid-terms, behind close doors they are worried, and they should be. With Pelosi and Reid saying that Obama's wish for a healthcare plan is on hold until 2010 and Obama's own failings in Afghanistan, a war he fully supported as a Senator and Presidential campaigner, people all across the country are finally beginning to realize that their man, as much as they may like him, is looking more and more like an empty suit. Like so many in the conservative movement tried to point out at the time, he is all flash with little substance. Just ask ex-Governor Jon Corzine. After 5 visits to that State on behalf of Corzine, the President was unable to move voters into the corrupted incumbent's corner as they went in droves over to his Republican opponent Chris Christie.
In last year's Presidential election Obama carried both New Jersey and Virginia in double digits. This year the Republican candidate for governor, Bob McDonnell, surpassed Obama's feat and carried the State with 59% of the vote. McDonnell's win brings to a close 8 years of Democratic control of the Virginia State House and it happened on Obama's watch. The Obama administration, regardless of their public demeanor, are crying right now in their beer at that picnic table on the White House lawn.