Note the very GOP-friendly lede in this morning's paper, courtesy of Nagourney [emphasis added]:
The Republican victories in the races for New Jersey and Virginia governors put the party in a stronger position to turn back the political wave President Obama unleashed last year, setting the stage for Republicans to raise money, recruit candidates and ride the excitement of an energized base as the party heads into next year's midterm elections.
And then later in the piece:
For Republicans, the results on Tuesday were welcome news after one of the party's toughest years.
That's a bit odd, because in Tuesday's paper, the Times' Adam Nagourney was quite clear about what the implications of the Congressional race N.Y.-23 race would be:
Worst outcome for Republicans: Losing the New York congressional race, which has showcased deep divisions between moderates and conservatives over how the party should rebuild to return to power.
According to Nagourney on Tuesday, losing the N.Y. race would be the "worst" outcome possible for the GOP. Well, guess what? Republicans did lose the N.Y. race. But in today's Times, that loss is dramatically downgraded on the significance scale. Suddenly that loss in no way curtails the GOP's ability to "raise money" and "ride the excitement."
UPDATED: According to the Times headline today, GOP hopes have been "Rekindled." Hmm, on Tuesday, a loss in upstate N.Y. represented the GOP's "worst" possible outcome. But on Wednesday, that same loss helped "rekindle" GOP hopes.
Would it be asking too much for Nagourney to explain this glaring contradiction?
UPDATED: In a separate election Times piece today by David Halbfinger and Ian Urbina, the newspaper stresses:
Republicans swept contests for governor in New Jersey and Virginia on Tuesday as voters went to the polls filled with economic uncertainty, dealing President Obama a setback and building momentum for a Republican comeback attempt in next year's midterm Congressional elections.
What happened to the "worst" case scenario of losing N.Y.-23?
UPDATED: For the record, Nagourney today did acknowledge the N.Y. loss up high in his piece:
But a Democratic victory in an upstate New York Congressional district — after an ideologically pitched battle between moderates and conservatives over how best to lead Republicans back to power — signaled that the Republican Party faces continued upheaval. The Democratic victory came over a conservative candidate who, with the enthusiastic backing of national conservative leaders and well-financed grass-roots organizations, had forced out a Republican candidate who supported abortion rights and gay rights.
From Fox Business host Eric Bolling's Twitter account:
From the November 4 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
On Tuesday, Beltway denizens were stressing that Tuesday's three major off-year elections were all important, and if Dems lost all three it would be very bad news and tell us all kinds of important details about Obama's political standing.
Well, check that. Dems, in something of a shocker, won the upstate N.Y. Congressional race in a very red district, while losing two governors races in N.J. and VA. So what's Balz's spin at the WashPost? Only the VA. and N.J. race are worth dissecting; only the VA. and N.J. contests tell us anything useful about the political mood of the country. (i.e. It's "ominous" for Democrats.)
From Frank's November 3 Wall Street Journal column:
Glenn Beck, the popular Fox News host, has a red telephone on his desk that never seems to ring. Every now and then, in a moment of acute frustration, he will pick it up and give the camera his trademark pleading-puppy look.
What Mr. Beck wants to hear from the phone are answers, and he wants to hear them from the highest authority in the land: the phone, he says, is "a dedicated line right to the White House." And when Mr. Beck gets things wrong, he wants his antagonists on Pennsylvania Avenue to correct him. But "They don't call. They're not going to call."
Consider a few of the other grand assertions tossed out by the panic-peddling host last week: that the cause of last year's financial crisis was pressure exerted by Acorn and "the people in Washington" on otherwise-reluctant mortgage lenders; that the cause of the inflation of the 1970s was President Jimmy Carter's quest for a "socialist utopia."
These are postulates that it is only possible to believe after you have utterly closed yourself off to conventional ways of knowing, after you have decided that the reporting and analysis and scholarship on these subjects are not worth reading, and that you will choose ideological fairy tales over reality until the day a magical phone call comes from on high.
What Mr. Beck's silent phone really symbolizes is a new kind of ignorance, a coming high-tech dark age in which people can choose to blow off professional standards of inquiry; in which they can wall themselves off with cable TV and friendly Web sites, dismiss what displeases as liberal bias, and demand that any contrary view be transmitted to them via telephone call from the president himself.
Why not let Mr. Beck and his viewers have their fun? Because ideas have consequences. Maybe, as many believe, Glenn Beck is indeed the future of the conservative movement. From tea parties to town-hall meetings, thousands are signing up and fitting themselves out with their very own hotline to nowhere.
I know I sound like a broken record, but that's what happens when the Beltway press corps embraces crushing uniformity; everybody just keeps repeating themselves.
-Fact: There are three key off-years elections today, with contests in N.Y., N.J., and VA. According to the polls, Dems could win one or two of those races.
-Fact: There are three key off-years elections today in N.Y., N.J., and VA. According to the polls, Republicans could win one, two, or three of those races.
So why do media elites only ponder the implications of Dems losing?
From the AP [emphasis added]:
In a very early test of President Barack Obama's political influence, two states are choosing whether to continue Democratic rule while voters elsewhere elect a handful of congressmen and big-city mayors.
Elected just a year ago, the president has spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to ensure that Democrats win governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey and pick up a GOP-held congressional seat in upstate New York.
In doing so, Obama raised the stakes of a low-enthusiasm off-year election season -- and risked political embarrassment if any lost.
All three could.
Do you follow? If three Dems "could" lose, than that's news. If two Republicans "could" lose, that's irrelevant.
As a bonus, the AP Liz Sidoti's election analysis is just plain dumb:
Of the two races, a Republican victory in Virginia would be the most telling about potential trouble ahead for Democrats as they compete in swing states next fall.
Long reliably Republican in national races, Virginia is a new swing state. It's home to a slew of northern bellwether counties filled with swing-voting independents who carried Obama to victory last fall, the first Democrat to win the state in a White House race since 1964. Rapidly growing counties like Loudoun and Prince William swung toward Democrats in the 2005 governor's race, previewing an Obama win three years later.
Conversely, New Jersey is a traditional Democratic-leaning state with an incumbent Democratic governor. As such, it's the trickier of the two for Republicans to win -- and yet the GOP just might.
The GOP just might! Nice touch, Liz.
And by claiming that a GOP victory in traditionally GOP-leaning VA "would be the most telling about potential trouble ahead for Democrats," Sidoti gets is pretty much exactly wrong. Republicans are expected to win the purple state. The real trouble for Dems would be if the GOP won the governor's race in blue-trending NJ.
Honestly, can't anybody here play this game?
UPDATED: What's also astonishing, and this is absolutely ignored by the press, is that the NJ race is only close today becuase the GOP candidate has lost a double-digit lead in recent months. It's only close because the GOP candidate's campaign has imploded since the summertime. But the press doesn't care about that, or what that might say about the GOP. The press only cares if Dems lose.
Here was the weekend headline, which we criticized as being monumentally dumb for suggesting a statewide race in VA. would indicate whether Obama wins a second term three years from now:
Virginia Race Tests Obama's Staying Power
Here's the Journal's election headline today [emphasis added]:
Republicans Are Poised for Gains in Key Elections: Outcomes in New York, New Jersey and Virginia Are Unlikely to Forecast Much About National Races in 2010, History Shows
That's the good news. The bad news? For the second time in several days, the Journal's only interest in Tuesday's election is pondering the possibilities of Democratic losses:
A Republican sweep in Tuesday's key contests would at minimum show that Democrats face much tougher political terrain than they did a year ago. GOP victories would also help the party's fundraising and candidate recruitment for 2010, providing backing for arguments that Republicans have the momentum, and that voters are turning against the Obama agenda.
There's nothing inaccurate in that paragraph. The astonishing thing is that today's elections feature two close races (according to most polling data), yet the daily only examines the political implications of Democrats losing.