The Republicans could not be foolish enough to think the American public would go for Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee in 2012, could they? Barack Obama could not possibly be that lucky, you think?
What the election results mean for Barack Obama and Sarah Palin
So, 24 hours after the votes have been counted and as the chattering classes fall silent, what does it all mean? Here are 10 thoughts to take away:
- Barack Obama needs to be very afraid. If he doesn’t start to notch up concrete achievements, the Democrats could take a pasting in next year’s mid-terms, setting the stage for his being a one-term president.
- Sarah Palin roared and had a considerable impact in New York’s 23rd District, which the Democrat narrowly won. Trouble is for her that the result showed the limits of her appeal. There was no exit polling and so there is much supposition but it seems that her intervention energised conservatives but alienated centrists. Perhaps the national Republican who came out best was Mitt Romney, who decided not to get involved.
- The 2008 presidential election was probably an aberration rather than a seismic shift in the political landscape. Obama’s winning formula of massive turnout from the young and the black plus support from independents seems to be a thing of history.
- Bob McDonnell’s thumping 18-point win in Virginia shows how Republicans can win again. He and Chris Christie, the New Jersey victor, did not take up Palin’s offer to campaign for them and played down their social conservatism – so this could be bad news for Palinites.
- The national Republican party is in disarray. If they don’t get their act together then Obama will win a second term by default if nothing else.
- The media narrative about NY23 – that it was about an intolerant Right purging a noble moderate – is rubbish. What happened was a very liberal Republican and awful candidate was chosen in error/arrogance and the people rejected her. She then showed her true colours by sabotaging the GOP. There’s a lot of Democratic gloating but you can bet the farm on a Republican being elected there in a year’s time.
- This is likely to make health-care reform more difficult to achieve because conservative Democrats in the House will be fearful of signing their own death warrant by backing Nancy Pelosi and Obama.
- Calling your opponent fat is not a winning strategy. Even if he is.
- After the result in Maine, the battle over gay marriage is far from over.
- It’s the economy stupid and despite all the White House spin, it seems they get that.