Don't Believe the GOP Hype

It's not time to worry yet, Dems. If Tuesday's elections tell us anything, it is that things can change drastically in the course of a year.

New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie high-fives a supporter. (Getty Images)

The text message from my Democratic operative friend popped up on my BlackBerry at exactly 10:19 p.m., just as it was becoming clear that Jon Corzine was not going to be re-elected governor of New Jersey.

Bloodbath! That's all the message said. Later, said operative noted with deepening despair that Democrats were even losing in Westchester County, N.Y. All in all, it was a bad night for Democrats, and as the top Democrat in the land, it was a bad night for Barack Obama, too. But that’s as far as it goes.

This was no referendum on the Obama presidency, and his popularity numbers continue to show that. It was, on some level, a test of how well the Obama coalition would hold up a year after it pulled off the stunning feat of electing a black, freshman senator with an African name to the presidency of the United States. But it was always a hard ask for a coalition, built so much on excitement, to hold together for Jon Corzine in New Jersey or Creigh Deeds in Virginia, who together, are not as exciting as watching paint dry.

Still, this is hardly the time for Democrats to despair. The GOP wins contain their own simple parable; 2009 is not 2008; 2010 will not be 2009.

Republicans have every right to be jubilant about Tuesday’s results. It was a good night for them. They have not had one of those politically since 2004 when George W. Bush won a second term and then spent the next four years driving his party off the cliff. As they say at the racetrack at the end of a long losing streak, “They were due.”