If the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia were to be seen as a way of taking the pulse of Obama's popularity, the White House spin machine has to be just about ready for a trip to the ER. Obama's people were already braced for a loss in Virginia, writing off Deeds for being insufficiently willing to turn over his campaign and office to Obama's people to do with as they please. New Jersey's Corzine however had followed every ugly step in the White House playbook, from backing their radical agenda, running petty personal attacks against the opposition and relying on ACORN's gangbangers to bring out the vote.
In the twilight of 2009, most Americans still have the same concerns they did a year ago. The concerns about the economy haven't changed, neither has their desire for a set of policies that works. Only the party in power has changed. The same independent voters that helped make a difference in the 2008 election, once again showed up... still wanting change. And change this time around means bad news for the Democrats, who have become the bosses.
The 2009 Democratic party playbook hinged on three elements, Obama's charisma, painting the Republican party as radicals, and relying on ACORN style Get Out the Vote operations. And now all three have failed. The value of the Obama charisma dollar has been dropping with each unnecessary TV appearance. The average American doesn't hate Obama yet, but as with most celebrities who have stopped doing interesting things, is bored by him. Painting the Republicans as radical is one of those tactics in which Democrats believe that painting their beliefs across a giant canvas is a can't miss strategy.
While Democratic media propaganda has obsessively pushed the line for a whole year that the Republicans are a radical party, the public hasn't much paid attention or cared. Louder opposition has actually paid off for the Republicans with independent voters looking for a vocal opposition to a crummy state of affairs. Denouncing your enemies as extremists may play well among a party whose ideological base is a toned down form of radical socialism, but it doesn't connect beyond that base and the chattering classes on the coasts. Instead, as the media found out during the Town Hall protests, it actually makes them more appealing.
Finally ACORN was seriously wounded, but it certainly had the same organizational abilities it had beforehand. ACORN was aggressively pushing into New Jersey to prove that it could do in a statewide election, what it had accomplished in local Democratic primaries in New York. Instead all it generated was complaints about gangbangers going door to door. No doubt there's a hefty amount of voter fraud in New York and New Jersey with ACORN's name on it in both states, but it wasn't enough to tip the scales. Because you can't steal every election. You can only help steal an election that's already close and trending your way. But stealing an election against the current is a much tougher challenge worthy of a Huey Long. ACORN and Obama don't quite have that kind of power yet. At least they didn't tonight.
The Democratic playbook for 2009 is in tatters. And best of all those who wrote it will not understand how or why. After a year of furious efforts targeting the Republican party, the only damage dealt to the GOP has been self-inflicted, while every attack has actually made the Republicans more popular. Using Obama as a magic totem who can do anything just wore out his charisma batteries that much faster. And relying on dirty tricks can only help so much when the voters are already turning on you.
The real story is told by the independent voters shifting away from Obama. Change to independent voters meant a more functional set of policies and an economic bounce. If Bush was to blame for the economy going south, as the Democrats had insisted in 2008, surely the Democrats could fix it. And if they couldn't. More change.
Americans treat most politicians like diapers, changing them when things turn bad. An election is often a way for an electorate that is ignored between elections to send a message to those in power to either get things right or get out. Obama and the Democrats treated 2008 as a historic victory and a mandate, when it was a message that the public was unhappy with the economy. They took their win as an open invite to loot the treasury into the trillions, to pass gigantic unpopular bailouts and nationalizations. And they were wrong. Deeply wrong.
Obama's constant trips abroad made him seem like a mayfly, flitting about here and there, useless but bright and colorful. In better economic times, that might have been enough, but unless the media can somehow spin unemployment into gold, to allow Barry Hussein to hang up a Mission Accomplished banner on the economy, the polls will not go the poppinjay's way in 2012. Just as they didn't go his way tonight.
Obama's charisma was not able to salvage Corzine. It cannot sell his health care agenda to the public. It cannot hang on to the independent voters. The only real question now is what the Democrats will do after tonight. The moderates will pull back further, but Obama and his radical allies are likely to keep going in the same direction they have before. Which should be welcome news for everyone who enjoys a good lemming stampede.
Change is not an open ended mandate or a blank check. Change is a warning to either perform or meet the same fate as the last incumbent. And while Obama was clutching the keys to the kingdom in his dirty little hands, flying endlessly around the world, taking Air Force One on dates and primping and posing for magazine covers; ordinary Americans were losing jobs, families were cutting back, credit card bills piled up, vacations vanished and people came to work every day not knowing if it would be their last. Tonight was a major warning sign to Obama that these Two Americas cannot co-exist forever. And sooner or later Americans will want their White House back from its current lazy and debauched tenants.