November 4, 2009

Let's start with Maine's No on 1 campaign. We lost. So sorry, Maine gays. You're still not quite human.

The problem with gay-marriage referendums is, it's about civil rights. Civil rights exist because your legal status shouldn't depend on popular opinion. If we'd had referendums in 1964 about the Civil Rights Act, it would still be illegal for Heidi Klum to marry Seal. Seems silly, right? That's because it is.

With 87 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, 53 percent of voters had approved the repeal, ending an expensive and emotional fight that was closely watched around the country as a referendum on the national gay-marriage movement. Polls had suggested a much closer race.

Maine voters also decided to expand the state’s 10-year-old medical marijuana law, approving a ballot question to allow state-regulated dispensaries to grow the drug and sell it to patients. The vote comes weeks after the Obama administration announced it would not prosecute patients and distributors who are in "clear and unambiguous" compliance with state laws. Maine will be the third state, after New Mexico and Rhode Island, to allow tightly regulated, nonprofit marijuana dispensaries.

Yeah, polls suggested a much closer race because people are so reluctant to admit they're homophobic. But hey, how about those stoners? Closeted Maine Republicans can still get high, so you got that going for you.

In one bright spot, the law expanding gay rights to "everything but marriage" in Washington state looks like it might win.


We won, with a strong progressive, too. How does this fit with bobblehead "Obama is dead" logic? Head. Must. Explode. Does. Not. Compute.

Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi will soon trade his state title for that of congressman after an expected victory Tuesday in the face of a surprisingly tough GOP challenger.

Garamendi easily beat Republican challenger David Harmer of Dougherty despite late cash infusions from the national party and an enthusiastic volunteer corps.

Outspent 2-to-1 in the heavily Democratic 10th district, the virtually unknown Republican David Harmer mustered just 39 percent of the vote, vowing to tap into public angst over an obdurate recession, federal spending and health care reform.

But Garamendi repeatedly touted his broad and deep political experience, and he never retreated from his support of progressive policies.


In New York, incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg won - but not by that much, considering polls showing an 18-point lead. And that was despite pouring what amounted to the GDP of a small nation into his campaign fund.

Unofficial returns showed Mr. Bloomberg with 51 percent and Mr. Thompson with 46 percent. The result will make Mr. Bloomberg only the fourth three-term mayor in the last century.

“Conventional wisdom says historically third terms haven’t been too successful,” the mayor told supporters at the Sheraton New York Hotel in Midtown Manhattan around midnight after a tense night of watching returns. “But we’ve spent the last eight years defying conventional wisdom.”

Still, the margin seemed to startle Mr. Bloomberg’s aides and the city’s political establishment, which had predicted a blowout. Published polls in the days leading up to the election suggested that the mayor would win by as many as 18 percentage points; four years ago, he cruised to re-election with a 20 percent margin.

The billionaire mayor had poured $90 million of his own fortune into the race, a sum without equal in the history of municipal politics that gave him a 14-to-1 advantage in campaign spending.


And in the crazy NY-23 race, the one much fetishized by national bobbleheads, the Democrat beat the teabagger by three points:

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. — Democrats won a special election in New York State’s northernmost Congressional district Tuesday, a setback for national conservatives who heavily promoted a third candidate in what became an intense debate over the direction of the Republican Party.

The Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, led with 49 percent of the vote, while the Conservative Party candidate, Douglas L. Hoffman, had 46 percent.


In NJ, former Goldman Sachs CEO Gov. Jon Corzine got his butt kicked by the corrupt Chris Christie. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but the Office of Public Integrity in D.C. should certainly investigate the odd lending practices of the soon-to-be governor:

In New Jersey, a former federal prosecutor, Christopher J. Christie, became the first Republican to win statewide in 12 years by vowing to attack the state’s fiscal problems with the same aggressiveness he used to lock up corrupt politicians.

He overcame a huge Democratic voter advantage and a relentless barrage of negative commercials to defeat Jon S. Corzine, an unpopular incumbent who outspent him by more than two to one and drew heavily on political help from the White House, including three visits to the state from President Obama.

“We are in a crisis; the times are extraordinarily difficult, but I stand here tonight full of hope for the future,” said Mr. Christie, 47, who will become New Jersey’s 55th governor. “Tomorrow begins the task of fixing a broken state.”

One of Corzine's biggest problems is that, like Barack Obama, his office was fiscally broken when he got there. Christine Todd Whitman left a series of landmines that didn't explode until years later - things like counting part of the teachers pension fund to "balance" the budget.


The bobbleheads are lovin' this one.

Virginians elected Republican Robert F. McDonnell the commonwealth's 71st governor Tuesday, sweeping the GOP to power and emphatically halting a decade of Democratic advances in the critical swing state.

The exclamation point on the former state attorney general's trouncing of Democratic state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds was a victory in Fairfax County, the state's most populous jurisdiction, which had delivered powerful Democratic majorities to President Obama and Govs. Timothy M. Kaine and Mark Warner. McDonnell also reversed the political order in the Washington region's outer suburbs, winning Loudoun and Prince William counties, which went for Kaine four years ago.

The bold headline on today's Washington Post? "A warning to Democrats: It's not 2008 anymore."

Yawn. Honestly, when was the last time the Washington Post was right about anything?

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