Wednesday, November 06, 2013

After The Scene Dies

Everyone wants to tell the story of Virginia. But there are two opinions which I believe sum up what happened last night in the Old Dominion. And both are stark warnings for Republicans.

First, well-respected University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato.
McAuliffe team beat the jinx with strong campaign + big financial edge + Cuccinelli's social issues. Oh, VA is bluish purple, too. 
I would add the lament of right wing pundits that if the shutdown didn't happen, we would have had five weeks of campaigning on Obamacare and its junk website. It might have made a difference, but elections are like ifs and ands and buts but with less chance of candy or nuts.

The key takeaway from Sabato's statement; big financial edge. Despite everyone, and I mean everyone, knowing McAuliffe is a slimier than the bottom of a pond experiencing an algae bloom, the money swung his way. Principles are fine but winning is better and money wins election.

Big picture analyses point to the Donkey in the room; Obamacare. Its relative absence as an issue in the early stages is credited for McAuliffe's victory. Its late appearance following the shutdown fallout is credited for Cucinelli's resurgence.

Both are right but Josh Barro points to a subtle nuance that should trouble every Republican currently littering social media with schadenfreude over website failures and cancellation notices.
Even in an election that the Republican candidate was deeming to be a "referendum on Obamacare," in a state where Obamacare is not popular, against a Democratic nominee whose key career accomplishment is unusual success at influence peddling, the Republican nominee lost.
Yes Barro ignores other factors but his point is salient; if scorched earth campaigning against Obamacare won't work in a state where the majority are somewhat against the program, where will it?

It is time for hard realities and hard decisions for Republicans everywhere (even in deep red states like Georgia).

Reality: you aren't going to repeal Obamacare. And it won't be because you never, ever win when it is put to an electoral test. It is because even you know the price of kicking 25 year olds and people with pre-existing conditions off their insurance is too high.

So it is decision time. Do you persist in another three years of self soothing primal screams and sniping at something you will never defeat? Or do you finally wake to a world where people elect pond scum because they can govern and decide that winning then the governing that follows winning are again appealing options.