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The Wrong Time


From Matthew Cooper’s piece up yesterday on Time’s site: “Still, Republicans would be wrong to misread the lessons of Tuesday night. In 1994, Newt Gingrich overestimated his mandate and the turmoil of the last night’s governors’ races should give the GOP caution. There’s still a great deal of anger out there — vented chiefly on the nation’s incumbent governors, many of whom lost amid voter discontent about coming state budget crunches. The psychiatrists call that kind of anger free-floating rage, and it could end up blowing back against the GOP in 2004. If trends hold up, the party out of power took every open gubernatorial seat.” In truth, anger was not vented at incumbent governors, almost all of whom won. In the biggest states in the country–California, Texas, New York, Florida–incumbents won. Only 1 Republican incumbent lost on Tuesday (in Wisconsin), and he had never been elected governor in the first place (having gotten the job when Tommy Thompson moved to D.C.) Maybe there was an anti-incumbent party mood in a lot of states where the actual incumbent wasn’t running. But why does this have to be written off as “free-floating rage” rather than a desire for change? Is this the “angry white male” theory of the 1994 election rearing its ugly head? (A friend of mine quipped that he was just happy that the day after the election, the New York Times’s headline wasn’t: “Bush Warmongering Brings Angry White Males to Polls.”)


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