- With the Democratic defeats of yesterday being blamed on President Obama’s unfavorable ratings, my Democratic friends ask how anyone can give the president a negative rating when the economy is doing so well. Ask President George H.W. Bush who experienced the same thing back in 1992 during his re-election campaign. The economy was coming back yet the voters didn’t think so and he was voted out of office because they thought he was “out of touch.” Fact is, the economy was turning around on his watch and because of his policies then-Gov. Bill Clinton got the benefit of it, winning the election. History, my Democratic friends, repeats itself. Then again "41" didn't also have the international crises (Ebola, Islamic State, etc.) that Obama faces.
- The question I kept hearing about Scott Brown, who lost a Senate race in Massachusetts a couple years ago and lost another yesterday in his vacation-home state of New Hampshire, was “is his political career over?” I think not. There are 48 other states the carpet-bagging politician can run in.
- Now that we have a fully divided government – Republicans controlling Congress, Democrats the White House – are we in store for at least two more years of gridlock? I think (and hope) not. Republicans now can’t declare success merely by blocking the president, they have to get something done. If the White House is serious, and the GOP on The Hill is serious, we actually could make some progress in some areas.
- Ed Gillespie nearly pulled off an upset for a Virginia U.S. Senate seat yesterday. Everyone figured he was in it to establish positioning for a run at governor in a couple of years and figured sacrificing himself against one of Virginia’s most popular politicians ever would increase his appeal to his party. He could still pull off a Senate win in a recount against incumbent Mark Warner, but he did more than establish positioning. He showed he has the potential to win the governorship. If he isn’t a Senator instead.
- There actually was at least one race yesterday where the voters couldn’t lose. In Massachusetts 6, Democrat Seth Moulton defeated Republican Robert Tisei. Moulton, an Iraq war veteran who won medals for valor, handily defeated Tisei, a real estate agent who lost for the same seat two years ago, by just one percentage point. Most observers say it was a race run with dignity on both sides, a good discussion of the issues, and none of the rancor seen in other races around the country. Neither candidate was a “nut case.” And each reflects what truly is the next generation of politicians, in the best sense. Moulton now becomes the “new face” in Massachusetts’ politics, the one to keep an eye on. Don’t rule Tisei out for something else down the road.
- Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell is the likely new Senate Majority Leader, a job he has long sought. Many aren’t a fan of McConnell’s, then again, many aren’t fans of the current majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada. McConnell may not be my ideal choice, either, but let’s look at the alternatives – Paul? Cruz? I’ll take McConnell who actually knows how to make a deal when it’s required and who now will have to feel responsibility for progress instead of setting the goal of “defeating Obama” which was his aim the last few years.
B. Jay Cooper
B. Jay is a former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also headed the communications offices at the Republican National Committee, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Yale University. He is a former reporter and is the retired deputy managing director of APCO Worldwide's Washington, D.C., office.