Reps. Baron P. Hill(Ind.), Dan Maffei (N.Y), and Tom Perriello(VA) are Democratic Congressmen from predominantly rural districts. All three voted yes after concessions from the House Leadership.
For Hill the decision came down to a last-minute compromise that paved the way for an amendment ensuring that no federal funding would go to abortions. For Tom Perriello the decision involved provisions for bigger payments to rural doctors..
The political gurus have been professing that the 2009 off-year elections will be an excellent predictor of the 2010 federal elections.You will hear that Democratic victories in the 2005 New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections foretold the Republican disaster of 2006.
Around 7:15 on election night, Fox News will report that Republican candidates have swept the three major races in Virginia. Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican candidate for Governor has a 13 point lead (in the Real Clear Politics’ poll of polls) over Democrat, R. Creigh Deeds.
Around 8:15 on election night, CNN will announce that Doug Hoffman (Conservative Party) has soundly beaten Bill Owens (D) in the Special Election for the 23rd Congressional District Seat in New York. CNN’s panel of political experts will then say that this was expected as the 23rd is one of New York’s most rural districts.
Around 10:00 MSNBC will inform you that the Gubernatorial Race between Chris Christie (R) and John Corzine (D) in New Jersey is too close to call. Chris Matthews will note Obama’s claim that the outcome of this gubernatorial race will be the first real verdict of his presidency. Another commentator will add that without Chris Daggett (a conservative independent) in the race that Corzine would have been defeated easily. (Based on the very latest polling data, I believe that Corzine will barely eek out a victory.)
When Election Night 2009 is over, you might be led to believe that the Republicans are back, with wins in New Jersey and Virginia or they are back with big wins in Virginia and a close loss in New Jersey. You might also hear about President Obama being another winner, with the Corzine victory.
None of the above may be correct.The two gubernatorial races will probably be decided by unique political factors. Weather (or other) conditions might affect voter turnout, which will determine the New Jersey race. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Virginia has waffled on many important issues in this race. For example, he claimed in a questionnaire response to be supportive of collective bargaining for public safety employees; a few weeks later, he claimed that this response was sent in error by a junior staffer.He is actually against such collective bargaining. (Info from the September 16th issue of The Washington Post)
Because of the 2009 elections’ dynamics, I will not put too much stock in the results for 2010.
After I wrote the last sentence, I realize that a Hoffman victory might be good news for such libertarians as Rand Paul, a Republican senatorial candidate in Kentucky. The electorate in the rural 23rd Congressional District in New York in many ways resembles the rural Kentucky electorate.
Conventional wisdom in Washington now is that the Democrats have to pass something that they can claim to be health care “reform,” no matter how much or how little actual reform it contains…the Democratic base has become wedded to the idea of a public option, even as the specifics of what now seems to be legislatively viable have lost any real connection with its initial rationale..