The EFM Feature

Last night was a good night. Not only did solid conservative candidates win in Virginia and New Jersey but same-sex marriage suffered a devastating defeat in New England. Can we draw any lessons from these victories? A few:
1. Barack Obama did not kill conservatism. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about last night’s wins was that neither Virginia (which has two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor) nor New Jersey (a thoroughly blue state) were won by RINOs. Republicans won by emphasizing their economic credentials and putting forth strong, well-rounded candidates. They didn’t conform to the expectations (demands?) of the media but instead held close to the Republican ideal of fiscal and social conservatism. And they won.
2. Health care isn’t dominating voters’ minds. Even if the health care debate dominates the news coverage and causing raucous town halls across the country, more people care about the economy than care about health care. In other words, the topic de jour in Washington and in the conservative media is just not going to trump economic concerns — most of the time.
3. Don’t take too many lessons from these elections. Honestly, these elections will be forgotten in, oh, about six weeks. The news of the day will dominate, and if the economy starts to come around the media will go back to trumpeting Obama as if he was Moses parting the Red Sea. Republicans need to think about how they’ll win races if the economy is growing rather than shrinking and the unemployment rate actually starts to go down. They can be assured of one thing: If we get 2% economic growth and 8% unemployment in the age of Obama, the media will treat that better than 4% economic growth and 6% unemployment in the age of Bush. Because, of course, Democratic economic policies are forever “rescuing us from the abyss” while Republican policies “leave too many behind.”
So far, nothing has yet happened to shake my belief that our ideal candidate in 2012 is (1) well-rounded; with (2) real economic expertise. I wonder who fits that description?

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