Not too many surprises that were not predictable. I was surprised that Reid won even though I thought Angle was weak. Intrade missed that one. Angle and O’Donnell may have overcome inexperience and qualifications in the primary, but that did not equate to a final victory. Yet Marco Rubio came far and won; he was just compelling and exuded competence. Quality did count on most races.
I was surprised to see Murkowski pull a Lieberman in Alaska. (possibly)
Again we learned that money alone does not win races, at least not beyond a certain point. Meg Whitman outspent Jerry brown in multiples and lost. No amount of money will overcome gross demographic or structural disadvantages.
Interesting to note that the new young faces belonged to ‘conservatives’ (Rubio, Haley) and that the return of the old tired faces (Boxer, Frank) belonged to the ‘progressives’.
Erick Erickson, the conservative (also young, vibrant, and very influential editor of Red State) noted that the real gain for conservatives was in the state houses. The number of new governors and state legislatures turning red is significant.
One reason is the acknowledgement that the Democrats will be facing a much wider swatch of red real estate in 2012. But for me the bigger issue is that the Republicans are growing a much much larger base of experienced leaders. At a time when Bill Clinton can no longer fill a high school auditorium this is a serious advantage. The Democrats are in serious need of new blood. There is no depth in new vibrant leadership beyond the president, and he has now hit a mighty wall.
In Georgia’s 8th district Jim Marshall lost to Austin Scott. He has survived 4 previous campaigns, some of them close and contentious. Jim is a very experienced Viet Nam vet and is about as blue dog as a Democrat can get. He is smart, independent in his thinking and supported by many Republicans although he is a Democrat. His constituent services are probably the best in Congress. He voted against the health care bill and even wrote a great article in National Review ( a conservative magazine) about why market forces can be tapped to correct many health care problems.
He campaigned against Pelosi and is a strong supporter of the second amendment. His fatal liability was the large ‘D’ next to his name.
The Democrat’s agenda was so arrogant, heavy handed, and reckless that many voters who were never so adversely partisan before refused to vote for any Democrat. Jim Marshall was a victim of a reckless Democrat administration. How many other blue dogs facing the same fate will consider switching parties?
Pelosi, Reid and Obama were not just a disaster for their ill conceived and irresponsible legislation. They were a disaster for their own party.