My, what a difference two years make!
Namely, a 50% jump in the unemployment rate, a tripling of the federal budget, and a tenfold increase in the annual deficit. But who’s counting?
Behold the 10 most remarkable outcomes from yesterday’s historic midterm elections:
1. Illinois Senate:
This one says it all. Amidst allegations of corrupt and incompetent business dealings and public program administration, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias couldn’t stave off the GOP tsunami and retain Senator Barack Obama’s former seat. Fiscally conservative, socially moderate Representative Mark Kirk ran on his votes against the stimulus bill and ObamaCare and eked out the most important symbolic victory of the evening.
2. Florida Senate:
George Hamilton lookalike and lizard descendent Charlie Crist disingenuously switched parties in May to become an Independent, rather than risk facing a primary loss, and after the primaries promised to caucus with Senate Democrats. Marco Rubio was an early Tea Party darling the mainstream media labeled unelectable; Rubio overcame a last-minute race-baiting dirty trick by Bill Clinton and received nearly as many votes as his Independent and Democratic opponents combined.
3. Kentucky Senate:
Jack Conway stooped almost as low as Florida’s Alan Grayson by cutting last-minute ads implying his opponent wasn’t a true Christian because of a college prank 27 years ago. Rand Paul unapologetically espoused radically libertarian, small-government positions, wisely endorsed more aggressive and active foreign policy positions than his isolationist father Ron Paul, and was brave enough not to back down from saying government should not interfere with private hiring decisions.
4. Pennsylvania Senate:
Arlen Specter swayed back and forth with the political winds for two years until he was uprooted like a weed and blown into disgraced retirement. Democrat Joe Sestak not only didn’t hide from his embarrassing support for the lethal Big Three signature Obama policies—the stimulus bill, cap-and-trade, and ObamaCare—but argued all should have been bigger and more government-heavy. In contrast, Club for Growth President Pat Toomey was an unabashed fiscal conservative and Tea Party favorite who won despite an unfavorable blue-state climate.
5. Wisconsin Senate:
Russ Feingold was a long-term incumbent and influential, far-left scourge of conservatives in the Senate, due to his cosponsorship of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act and solitary losing vote in the Senate’s initial 98-1 vote on the PATRIOT Act. Businessman Ron Johnson was a Tea Party conservative, unapologetic global warming skeptic, and ardent offshore drilling supporter who fought long odds and an opponent with a massive campaign war chest to achieve another important symbolic victory.
6. Ohio Governor:
Six-term former Representative and incumbent two-term governor Ted Strickland couldn’t hold his seat due to his support for Obama policies and his role in Ohio’s miserable economic conditions. Former Representative and House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich ran on his conservative record in Congress and took over an office that will be crucial in managing campaign finance operations in the 2012 presidential election.
7. Arkansas Senate:
Blanche Lincoln paid for her support for ObamaCare and couldn’t extend her long-term incumbency despite her Blue Dog Democrat status. John Boozman hammered home his opponent’s ideological similarity to Obama, reiterated his opposition to ObamaCare and cap-and-trade legislation, and destroyed Lincoln by a whopping 20 points.
8. Florida House 22:
Ron Klein defeated Republican Colonel Allen West in 2008 and voted with Democrats 98% of the time in the 110th Congress. This year West got his revenge by defending himself against smears about his service in the Iraq War and fearlessly fighting back claims of Uncle Tomism to become the nation’s most prominent black Tea Party elected official.
9. South Carolina Governor:
State Senator Vincent Sheheen tried to hide his liberal record but couldn’t sway South Carolina voters, even after Governor Mark Sanford’s sex scandal. Nikki Haley came back from last place in the Republican primary, fought disgusting allegations of extramarital affairs, and rode the Sarah Palin/Jim DeMint/Tea Party wave to become the nation’s second Indian American governor.
10. Colorado House 4:
Incumbent Representative Betsy Markey floundered after her support for ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, and the stimulus bill. “Young Gun” State Representative Cory Gardner defeated Markey due to his vocal support of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan’s radical, fiscally austere Roadmap for America.
As for dear Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon, John Raese, Carly Fiorina, Carl Paladino, Meg Whitman, Charles Baker, and Sean Bielat: Better luck next time!