Winning is always better than losing, but if I was a Democrat right now, I’d be very worried about how Ken Cuccinelli closed the gap to make a tight race out of Virginia. I think the critics of the GOP establishment that largely abandoned Cuccinelli are correct that they gave up on a winnable race in a cowardly fashion, but shouldn’t overdo this—Cuccinelli was a damaged candidate, some of it not his fault. Down ballot Republicans did well, taking somewhere in the neighborhood of two-thirds of the state legislature. This does not suggest wide unpopularity for Republicans. Have fun with that legislature, Gov. McAwful. (By the way, I went to a kids birthday party at McAullife’s house on McLean once—our boys were in the same pre-school—and I was shocked by two things: first, he served Coors Light to the grownups—heresy on several levels!—and the little goody bags for all the kids had “Hillary 08” stickers on them.)
Bottom line: the disaster of Obamacare has more potency than the government shutdown, which will have faded into history by election-day next year. See Michael Barone for more.
Our here in Colorado, Ballot Measure 66, an income tax increase for public education, went down more spectacularly than the Hindenburg, losing in a 2-1 landslide. I was pleasantly surprised for two reasons: California voters fell for this last year, raising income taxes on “the rich,” but also because the pro-66 campaign blanketed the airwaves heavily, outspending the opposition by a huge margin. Slickly-produced pro-66 TV ads were wall-to-wall on TV for weeks, but I never did see an anti-66 TV ad. And it still tanked. Even with lots of children begging us. Prof. Joshua Dunn of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (where most of the state’s conservative faculty are exiled) has more.
The income tax hike wasn’t the only setback for the educrats. Down in Douglas County south of Denver, the educrats (or “The Blob” as Bill Bennett always called them) also lost an effort to oust a conservative reform-minded school board that had instituted merit pay for teachers and is hoping to start a voucher system. Again, the educrats and public employee unions spent heavily. It appears the conservative reformers have survived the onslaught.
Meanwhile, a marijuana tax passed by an equally large margin. So now it’s okay to toke because you’re toking for the kids. Of course, people ignorant of the Bootleggers and Baptists hypothesis will be surprised to find that the existing underground market in weed is certain to seek to avoid the tax, and that revenues will come in much lower than forecast.
Coming on top of the successful recall of two gun grabbers a few months ago, Colorado is looking more purple today. No wonder Governor John Chickenpooper is looking nervous in he TV appearances.