Here's a phrase that you are likely to hear a lot going forward, "sunny conservatism". That's the description of Bob McDonnell's message. McDonnell did what Republicans have failed to do since 2006. He took a conservative message, gave it a practical application, and turned it into a kitchen table message. The problem for Republicans and conservatives is that they have had a far too theoretical message. McDonnell made it practical and positive.
We all know how the NFL works. The Miami Dolphins try the Wildcat and it works. Suddenly, the entire league has a form of the Wildcat. You can bet that politics will work the same. Watch for every Republican pol to jump on the band wagon and run on their own version of sunny conservatism.
This was a bad night for Democrats and the President. I've long said that health care reform is dead and this night was merely a re affirmation of that. It was also a bad night for the tea party movement. Watch for defenders to spin it as something positive, but it wasn't. Their guy lost. He lost in a conservative district. He lost to a liberal.
Hoffman lost because he turned New York 23 into a national referendum on the future of Republicans. Well, I doubt very much that many in this district cared all that much for being a part of this sort of political struggle. If you're living in New York 23, you want to know what Doug Hoffman will do for your district. Instead, he's talking about how he is trying to bring the Republican party back to its roots.
We saw this before. That was during the Republican primaries. Do you want to know how Mike Huckabee went from a blip to a contender? While the rest of the candidates were trying to have a contest over who is more conservative, Huckabee was talking about the kitchen table issues: health care, jobs, education. Doug Hoffman wasn't talking about jobs, health care, and education. He was talking about the future of conservatism.
If the tea parties want to destroy the Republican party, and nothing more, they will continue to make every single race a struggle for conservatism. They will try and purge every single candidate not sufficiently conservative enough and turn every race into a struggle for the future of the party. The tea parties can come into every single district and state and scream about how a candidate is not "conservative enough" and all they'll do is turn off more people than they attract. Most people are not ideologues. They don't care if someone is conservative enough. They care about jobs, health care, education, etc. Candidates have to address the issues not broad concepts. Anyone that considers this a victory for the tea parties is fooling themselves. Last night showed that the tea parties have become so sufficiently ideological that they turn off more than they turn on.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"