Rachel breaks through some of the spin on the election results from last night. Unlike most of the pundits in the “mainstream” media who have been doing their best to paint what happened in New Jersey and Virginia as some sort of shift by the electorate back to the Republican Party, Rachel does a very nice job keeping the results in perspective. As Rachel also notes, the Tea Baggers are gearing up for more conservative challengers in 2010 and for some more Astroturf protests on Capitol Hill, undeterred by the loss in NY-23.
MADDOW: But we begin tonight with the end of election 2009 and the very exciting beginning of election 2010 -- which, of course, starts with the breathless spinning of last night's results.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. HALEY BARBOUR ®, MISSISSIPPI: There's no question that these elections propel Republicans into 2010.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We won one in California, we won the big one in New York 23, where the Obama agenda was at play were in the two congressional races, both of which were won by Democrats.
REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, VIRGINIA: Taking away from this, you know, we look to '010. People have clearly made a choice in our state. They have said no to the one-way street of the economic policies of the Obama administration and the Pelosi Congress.
MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: Assume the Heisman position. Yes, baby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told you!
STEELE: There you go. That's my moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, baby.
Spin aside, the political map in this country did change last night. Before last night, here was the partisan breakdown of governor seats across the country: 22 Republican governors and 28 Democrats.
After last night, this is what it looks like. Yes, I know, stunning, right? Republicans picked up Virginia and New Jersey. So, we're now at 24 Republicans and 26 Democrats.
In terms of congressional races, last night California's 10th district stayed blue, but it got a little blue-ier as moderate Democrat Ellen Tauscher was replaced by progressive Democrat John Garamendi.
The congressional race that got all of the attention last night was, of course, in the northeast. It was New York's 23rd congressional district.
Here's how the northeast breaks down in terms of all of its congressional districts. All right. There are 51 congressional districts when you look at all of New England and New York.
Here was the red/blue partisan divide in the northeast before last night's elections-all Democratic-held seats except for three Republican seats in the state of New York. Now, after last night, drum roll, please. Boink! Yes, again, not all that exciting. An overwhelmingly blue region of the country gets slightly more blue with the Democratic win of New York 23rd.
Earth-shattering, right? No, of course, it's not at all earth-shattering. But if what happened last night is taken as the template for the parties to position themselves for 2010, then last night really could have out-sized importance. Even though it only changed maps in very subtle ways.
Even though Republicans lost in New York's 23rd district last night, their actions today indicate that conservatives may be building their campaign for 2010 on what happened in that congressional race in New York.
Today's political news was all about California, of all places, where McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina today made the long-expected announcement that she's running for the Republican nomination to try to unseat Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer next year. Unexpectedly, Ms. Fiorina is already being cast by the conservative movement in the role of ousted New York 23 Republican Dede Scozzafava. Playing the role of Ms. Scozzafava's ouster, Doug Hoffman in this case, is the more conservative Californian Republican Chuck DeVore, who's running against Carly Fiorina out there.
The role of the not-from-around-here conservative celebrity here to big-foot the local race, played in New York by Fred Thompson, Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Rick Santorum, Glenn Beck, et cetera, it's being played in California by Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who is throwing his weight not behind the party favorite, Ms. Fiorina, but instead behind conservative movement favorite, Chuck DeVore.
This race even has its own Newt Gingrich figure, too. The figure once thought of as a true conservative, but now risking everything to take on the celebrity conservatives of his own party. It's Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in California, who is backing Ms. Fiorina.
Senator Graham offering this warning today to those who might try to "New York 23" any future races, quote, "To those people who are pursuing purity, you'll become a club, not a party."
As a kickoff for those who might wish to purify the Republican Party in 2010, the latest tea party-style, FOX News-promoted protest against the government is tomorrow in D.C. Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on Glenn Beck's TV show today, calling for freedom fighters across the country to meet at high noon tomorrow at the U.S. Capitol to look into the whites of the eyes of congressmen for big anti-health reform demonstration.
It's an event that's being organized in party by the group FreedomWorks, which just launched a Web site called-I'm not kidding-
Don'tKillGrandma.com. On that site, FreedomWorks is calling for a simultaneous nationwide rally tomorrow at all congressional offices in the country, as well as at the Capitol Hill steps in Washington, D.C. There, they say, there will be a simultaneous chant of "Kill the bill," followed by protesters physically burying it-burying the paper copy of the bill. If you want, FreedomWorks is also providing helpful talking points for those who might not want to attend.
The prospect of thousands of Tea Party Patriots descending on Washington tomorrow was terribly exciting for Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa, who had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING ®, IOWA: There are buses coming in from state after state after state, converging on this city. People are dropping what's important. It's as if Paul Revere had ridden across America and said, "Here's the call. Here's the call of your country."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: To be technically correct, it's not really Paul Revere that's calling, it's actually the ninth richest man in the world. David Koch, head of the giant oil company, Koch Industries, and national chairman of Americans for Prosperity.
See, it's Americans for Prosperity that is providing the buses, busing people in from all over the east coast tomorrow for the "whites of their eyes," "don't kill grandma," "bury the health care bill" rally in D.C.
We checked with Americans for Prosperity today to see if they would disclose to us who's paying to provide the free bus rides to D.C. for the "whites of their eyes" rally. They gave us some general information about the financial relationship they have with their local chapters, but they could not tell us definitively who's funding all those buses.
So, the "whites of their eyes" demonstrators tomorrow will enjoy the financial largess of undisclosed donors bussing them to D.C.
The John McCain wing of the Republican Party has already been declared the enemy by the conservative movement, and the 2010 election season is already fun.