Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Election That Really Mattered Today

...was the run-off election in Mississippi's first district. The election to replace the congressman who replaced Senator Trent Lott when he resigned from the Senate to spend more time with his his lobbying duties. A district that Bush won 62-37 in '04, and that now-Senator Wicker won 66-34 two years ago. A district where the Republican tried to race-bait the (white) Democratic candidate by tying him to Obama.

A district that just elected the Democratic challenger, Travis Childers, by 52-48%. (Update: Nope: once all the results were counted, he won 54-46%. An 8-pt spread. "Not even close", quoth JM.)

As Josh Marshall says,
the Republicans have lost three straight Republican districts to the Democrats in by-elections this year. Hastert's district in Illinois, Louisiana 6th, and now Mississippi 1st. Each successively more Republican than the last.
Sure, it's only good through November when they do it all over again. Sure, a lot can happen between now and then. And I'm nervous about being hopeful.

Still: O. M. G.

I guess that's what happens when you have the most unpopular President in the history of polling leading your party through a disastrous war. Ezra Klein's right that Bush
is shockingly unpopular, and this is a reality that neither the Congress nor the media has quite figured out how to address. It's something of a crisis for our political system that the president has now spent over three years hated and mistrusted by the majority of the country, and yet has never felt the need to take steps to restore his legitimacy. Something is wrong.
-- Something is most definitely wrong with our political system; and the media, and Congress, have both failed by Bushian magnitudes in their failures to address this.

But maybe, just maybe -- knock wood, kenina hara, all that -- the voters will step up where the media and Congress have both failed so miserably. Maybe what the political classes have failed to addressed will be addressed in November -- by we, the people of the United States.

Update: From Politico:
"This loss is going to prompt serious introspection by our conference to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it," said a GOP leadership aide. "We have time to do that, and we will if we learn our lessons leading into November"
Except, you don't have time to do that. Because what went wrong wasn't a question of campaigning or branding or spinning. It was about reality -- the reality of the worst President in U.S. history, and the damage he has done to our country. It was about the fact that Conservative governance has disastrous results. And now people are seeing the results.

That can't be fixed in a few months.

Actually, the people that I hope take a message from this are the Congressional Democrats: rolling over and playing dead for the policies of this bunch is worse than stupid, it's suicidal: and if you don't reverse course, and reverse course hard, come January (assuming an Obama win and ongoing Democratic majorities), the people will hate you for not ending the policies they elected you to oppose. So stop mollycoddling the Conservatives, and grow a spine.

The very first step: END THE WAR.

Update 2: If anyone's interested in commentary on the other election from yesterday, the must-read post of the week is Josh Marshall on the demographics and history of Appalachia.

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