It will take a while to sort out the results of yesterday’s congressional races and their meaning. They clearly make out a stunning repudiation of the Obama agenda, and I think we can say with some confidence that the stage has been set for a few stars. I think of Marco Rubio, who ran a pitch perfect race to win Florida’s Senate race. I think of Col. Allen West, who knocked off incumbent Democrat Ron Klein in Florida’s Twenty-Second Congressional District, and of Daniel Webster, who retired the vile incumbent Alan Grayson in Florida’s Eighth Congressional District.
I think of Ron Johnson, the great Tea Party Republican Senate candidate who knocked of three-term incumbent Russ Feingold in Wisconsin’s Senate race. Feingold is a liberal Democrat whose putative independence consisted of left-wing wackiness, such as opposition to the PATRIOT Act and support of socialized medicine. Feingold seemed to me a standard left-wing Democrat whose support of campaign regulation betrayed the progressives’ hostility to the core meaning of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. Ron Johnson is an Oshkosh businessman who rose from the ranks of the Tea Party movement and harked back to the tradition of the citizen legislator during the campaign. The media inattention to him is a function of his excellence.
I think of Chris Gibson, the Republican challenger who knocked off Democratic incumbent Scott Murphy in New York’s Twentieth Congressional District. I hadn’t heard of Gibson until Victor Davis Hanson drew attention to him. Over the course of his 24-year Army career Gibson rose to the rank of Colonel and deployed seven times, including four combat tours to Iraq. Along the way he was awarded four Bronze Stars, earned a Ph.D. in government from Cornell, and wrote Securing the State. Rep-elect Gibson is something of a natural leader who obviously has a great contribution to make in his new career.
And this does not even take into account the many attractive Republican gubernatorial candidates who won the opportunity to prove themselves as leaders. Nikki Haley in South Carolina and Susana Martinez in New Mexico are good examples. John Kasich is not a newcomer, but in knocking off incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in Ohio, he emerges as the leader of a key swing state. Republicans swept the field of executive offices in Oho. My favorite candidate this year was State Rep. Josh Mandel, who easily knocked off incumbent state treasurer Kevin Boyce. I am quite confident that we will be hearing more from Josh.
UPDATE: In his reflections on last night’s results, Jay Nordlinger comments: “Col. Allen West is a blazing Reagan Republican, black, who won in a very, very white Florida House district. There is much to ponder there: not so much about West as about the American people.” Jay also links to his excellent profile of Allen West.
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