Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Political Year-End

Best wishes to anyone who might be reading this as the hours tick down on the end of the year and of the decade.

When 2009 began, Democrats were poised to take total control over the federal government and also held a solid majority of state Governorships. The first few months of the year featured frequent media speculation about the Grand Old Party and it's "leaderless state" and some questioned if the party could ever rebound or if they were destined to go the way of the Whigs, after two poor national election cycles.

As 2010 begins, Democrats will still hold more elected offices than Republicans, but the political conventional wisdom has shifted quite dramatically, with President Barack Obama squandering a great deal of the popularity he once held, and a Democrat controlled Congress held in very low self-esteem. Republicans now seem primed to make major gains in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House in the midterm elections, as well as controlling a majority of Governorships once again. It will be an interesting year in politics, and if you are a Republican like myself, probably an enjoyable one too. I will do my best to "cover" the races here as 2010 progresses.

Let's quickly look back at the most recent elections and political developments of 2009 though. As predicted, Republicans, by solid margins, took over the Governorships of two "Blue States" from 2008; New Jersey and Virginia, despite the campaigning of Obama for those in his party. Democrats took some solace from the inevitable defending of a U.S. House seat in a liberal California district while also narrowly capturing a very long-term held Republican seat in New York.

That was a very complicated three-way race with the selected Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava easily being the most liberal candidate in the field against both a Republican running under the banner of the Conservative Party and a Democrat, who had also been viewed as pretty-center right. Scozzafava proved to be a very weak candidate and seemed destined to a third place finish. I had anticipated that due to the Republican schism, the Democrats would manage to take that seat, but then, at the homestretch of the campaign, Scozzafava dropped out, and most observers, myself included, thought it would seal an election victory for Conservative Doug Hoffman, and thus, an incorrect prediction on that race was made.

Right before Election Day, Scozzafava proceeded to endorse the Democrat Bill Owens, and that might have helped him to a plurality victory. There are many other factors to consider in the race as to how the Republicans lost another House seat in a special election, but to me, the fate was probably sealed when local party bosses selected Scozzafava. GOP disunity certainly did not help, but I think had Hoffman not been in the race to begin with, and it was a traditional race between Scozzafava and Owens, the Democrat would have won by a substantially larger margin.

Now of course, Owens, who has since voted for the Obama-Pelosi Health Care bill in the House, will have to defend the seat in a traditional midterm election setting and that could prove difficult. The Democrats Congressional pickup was shortly lived however as freshman Blue Dog Democrat Parker Griffith of Alabama has now defected to the Republican Party.

In the weeks and months ahead, this blog will make obligatory predictions on a special House election in Florida and a potential special election in Hawai'i. We will also look more in depth at an upcoming special election for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts and a potential special election later on in the year for a Senate seat in Texas.

Time permitting on my end, I may make brief capsule write-ups later in January and then perhaps again in April on all the other midterm elections for Governor and U.S. Senate across the country. When July comes around, I plan to have a more lengthy post, on as close to a daily basis as possible, on each of those 2010 races in alphabetical order.

And of course, it's almost time for American Idol Season 9! Once the competition really gets under way, I will have to evaluate just how long my posts will be and when I will get to post them, but I always look forward to ranking the performances each and every week.

Finally, in just about a year, on New Year's Day 2011, I will send shock waves throughout the political universe by endorsing a candidate for President of the United States.

If any of my readers are not psychotic (or at least not totally so), please feel free to leave comments on the posts throughout the year, and I will approve them as they are emailed to me. (Need to keep the impostors and the spam posts away.)

See you in 2010!