Saturday, December 07, 2002

Kingfishery & Kingcakery - Well, well, well. Not only has incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu decisively defeated Republican candidate Suzanne Haik Terrell in the last remaining US Senate race, but Democrat Rodney Alexander has defeated his opponent (Fletcher) in the only other contested Congressional race for a seat in the House of Representatives. What does this mean? A couple of things from where I sit. First, it means that the Democratic Party nationally is far from defunct. Today marks the great U-Turn in the fortunes of the Democratic Party. When you couple this stunning victory with the sacking of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Economic Advisor Larry Lindsey, and the fact that the entire national Republican party - all the way up to President Bush - placed their influence and reputations on the line in this election, the future appears ominous for Republicans and for GW's reelection. So, the first meaning is the rejuvenation of the Democratic Party and a glimpse of hope to national democrats that may spark some energy in the national party. Louisiana democrats beat the national Republican party machine. Second, negative campaigning can go too far. Terrell's deplorable attack ads and the nastiness of her campaign turned people off and may have even converted some moderate voters who have tended Republican in past elections to cast votes for Landrieu. I think Landrieu's negative campaign was just as deplorable, but I think voters probably felt she was driven to this in order to defend her personal and professional reputation. Landrieu's campaign was, in effect, a defensive reaction to Terrell's primary campaign. So, the second meaning is the failure of Republican campaign strategies to go to the extremes in negative campaigning. Personally, I'm pleased with the outcome of the election, especially since I'm a liberal from Louisiana. And I'm pleased to see the national Republican Party humiliated in this way. People tend to remember the last moments of any process, and the last moments of the 2002 US Congressional Elections went to the Democrats. Democrats should take heart from this and Republicans should worry.

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