Friday, November 11, 2005
David Brooks is rolling in his grave
For GOP, 2006 Now Looms Much LargerBut I thought those "heartland" "values" voters were the only real Americans, the only ones whose values mattered.
In a season of discontent for the White House, Tuesday's election results intensified Republican anxiety that next year's midterm contests could bring serious losses unless George W. Bush finds a way to turn around his presidency and shore up support among disaffected, moderate swing voters.
Democrats captured the two governorships at stake Tuesday, in Virginia and New Jersey, where Sen. Jon S. Corzine ran away with the race after a nasty campaign. Democrats also buried four ballot initiatives in California championed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and ousted the mayor of St. Paul, Minn., Democrat Randy Kelly, who had betrayed his party by endorsing Bush in last year's presidential election. Democrats failed in their effort to pass a package of political retooling measures in Ohio.
Republican hopes for a quick morale boost had centered on conservative Virginia. Instead, the gubernatorial results there raised concerns among some Republicans that Bush's favored political strategy of mobilizing conservative voters by dividing the electorate on cultural and social issues may have prompted a backlash among voters in inner and outer suburbs who were vital to Bush's reelection in 2004.
"It's not just that they lost these elections," said Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin, "but that none of their old tricks worked that they've relied on to give them the edge in close contests."
Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) said the GOP's reliance on cultural issues, popular with rural voters, "are just blowing up" in suburban and exurban communities. "You play to your rural base, you pay a price," he said.
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