Archive for November, 2009

One Year Later

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Nearly one year ago, on November 2nd, 2008, I began Thought Docket this way:

As I write this, just two days before an historic election, it appears that the citizens of the US are about to elect Barack Obama as president.  It seems like a particularly good time to begin Thought Docket.  The president-elect will face unprecedented challenges: two conflicts, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, a resurgent Russia, climate change, energy independence, healthcare, the economy, to name a few. I won’t be voting for Senator Obama, but if he is elected, it will be my sincere hope that he rises to these challenges.

I must say that I have not been impressed with the performance to date. Too much apologizing (to European bed wetters and Middle Eastern jihadists) and too little influencing of the legislative agenda.

Tomorrow morning, I will be heading to the polls in Virginia to register my choices for, among other offices, Governor, Lt. Governor, and Lt. General.

Virginia and New Jersey have received the lion’s share of press coverage over the past month or so for their off-year governor’s races, but more recently, attention has turned to NY-23. That race, which is a special election made necessary by President Obama’s selection of John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, was turned on its head when Sarah Palin endorsed 3rd party candidate (Conservative Party) Doug Hoffman on October 22nd. The party elders, including Newt Gingrich, had lined up behind the Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava in her race against Democrat Bill Owens. Much has happened in the past 10 days. At first, it was thought that Palin’s endorsement would only split Republican votes, handing Owens an easy victory. Instead, Scozzafava has dropped out of the race and has endorsed Owens (!).

It is difficult to understand how Scozzafava was selected to run as a Republican. Here in Virginia, our Democratic governors are often described as socially moderate and fiscally conservative. The popular Doug Wilder comes to mind. So, is Scozzafava more or less liberal than, say, socially moderate and fiscally conservative Democrats? Much more liberal! Scozzafava is in favor of abortion rights, gay marriage, the stimulus package, and card check! Yikes!

The race in NY-23 is close, according to the polling that I have seen. Should Hoffman win, I have heard two schools of thought regarding the lessons to be drawn. The Republicans might see a Hoffman victory as a blow to the Obama administration (Obama carried NY-23 a year ago). The Democrats might spin a Hoffman victory (and, of course, a Hoffman loss) as a sign of a fractured Republican party. But I have also heard that neither party should take solace in a Hoffman victory. This school of thought suggests that a Hoffman victory is true strike against politics as usual in Washington. Wouldn’t that be refreshing? Thanks Sarah!