Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Rand So Far

Well, I think we'd have to call yesterday good news for Democrats, bad news for establishment Republicans, and horrible news for the Teabaggers.

In Pennsylvania, there were two races of note: Congresscritter Joe Sestak defeated Arlen Specter (R...I mean, D-PA) in the Democratic promary for Specter's Senate seat. I won't lament Specter's loss beyond this: he was a decent man stuck in an indecent time. His failing was, when given a choice to grow a spine in the 1990s and stand up for his principles against the party machinery that chose the dark path initiated by Lee Atwater, he put on a dark cloak.

The other race of note was the special election to replace Congressman John Murtha, who died suddenly earlier this year. Democrat Mark Critz defeated a challenge from Republican businessman Tim Burns in a race that directly reflects on the Presidency of Barack Obama and the work that Congress has done to advance his centrist agenda. Apparently, the people of western Pennsylvania, not liberal by any means--they voted for McCain in 2008-- rejected the politics of hate and extremism and found shelter in Critz. The race should have been a lot closer than the 8 point margin Critz won by.

This is a stunning blow to the Teabagger insurgency, altho you won't hear Republicans or Teabaggers talk about it, and adds a new dimension to primaries in Arkansas and Tennessee Kentucky.

In Arkansas, Democrat Blanche Lincoln barely survived a Democratic primary to fight another day against Lt Governor Bill Halter in her attempt to retain her Senate seat. You'd never know it to listen to her afterwards, where she latched onto the Clinton mantle of "comeback kid". Ewww.

And finally, in Tennessee Kentucky, the red flags were up for the GOP establishment after Rand Paul (R-Galt's Gulch) easily defeated his mainstream opponent, Trey Grayson. In an attempt to retain the seat long held by Jim Bunning, Republicans lined up behind Greyson, from fellow Tennesseean Kentuckian Mitch McConnell to, well, the janitor at RNC headquarters.

Paul, endorsed by such notable bastions of sanity as child-abusing James Dobson of Focus on Family, aborted Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and Napoleon Bonaparte the XIV, ran as a Randian (hello! That first name is a dead giveaway!) and garnered 59% of the vote.

That's...a bitchslap.

And it should also be welcome news to Democrats. I have a theory which I've espoused more times than I care to mention, that Republicans run roughly thirty years behind Democrats. Right now, the Republicans are running about the era of Reagan in terms of being the party out of favor with the American people. There's a battle for the soul of the party, and that means the focus will be internal, not external.

Much like the Ted Kennedy faction of the Democratic party battled the Jimmy Carter faction in the late 70s and early 80s, which gave us such memorable Presidential candidates at Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. It also set up the Gingrich insurgency.

So we have a long time to bask in the glory of Democratic victories, but I digress. There's still work to be done. We have to close the deal on a progressive agenda. Getting rid of deadwood like Lincoln and Specter will help us accomplish that, and the more Teabaggers that manage to kick GOP deadwood to the curb, the more energized progressives and Democrats will become.
And the more independents will flock to us. When the alternative is militancy in America, Americans climb into bed with the nearest warm body.

That's nothing to be proud of, however, but it gives us a chance to work with America, and isolate the nutbaggers.