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Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Still Here

Still in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and here is the palm tree I promised to send. It's a view from my father's catwalk


I will be back to cold, late fall reality by tomorrow afternoon. But for now, I'm enjoying one more 80 degree day visiting with my dad.


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

All That Glitters

All that glitters not only isn't necessarily gold, it could be as bold and cheap as brass. Here is a perfect example

By now most people know who the Salahis are. But just in case you spent this past holiday weekend as a castaway on a desert island, they are the couple who crashed the President's first state dinner. In the process, they seriously compromised White House security.

This Washington Post story paints a pretty good picture of a couple who, though affluent, wanted desperately to play polo way out of their league. They lived larger than life, mingled with the elite, posed as a debonaire, fun loving couple, and assiduously sought the spotlight. Indeed, Michaela Salahi was aggressively seeking a spot on Bravo's new Housewives of Washington television series.

On the night of the state dinner, a witness saw the Salahis car turned away from the White House driveway. The same eyewitness later observed Michaela hop out of the car while a makeup artist, who was following the couple, jumped out of a second car to brush more makeup on Michaela. All the while, a cameraman was filming these antics.

Pictures of the Salahis mixing with Joe Biden, the Indian Prime Minister, and other high profile celebrities showed up the next day on the Salahis Facebook page. The White House later releases photos of President Obama and the First Lady greeting them on the receiving line.

But the Washington Post story delves into the darker side of the Salahi story. The law suits between Tareq and his father. The ruined family business, a well respected winery in Fauquier County. The trail of unpaid bills and creditors left holding the bag.

In some respects, though, there are aspects of this escapade and the whole Salahi story that could hold a romantic appeal for many of those reading about it. Could the book and movie deal be far behind?

The truth is America has a tradition of admiring its clever con artists and lovable scoundrels who stick it to society's muckety mucks. It's the stuff of countless Hollywood screwball comedies.

But make no mistake, the Salahis were no populist heroes pulling off a simple scam against the rich and famous. They wanted to be rich and famous themselves. And more often those scammed turned out to be small business men and women, florists, caterers, cleaning companies, and their condo association, whose dues they stiffed. These were careless people so intent on pursuing a self-aggrandizing fantasy that they didn't care whose business or life got wrecked in their wake.

But there is a larger issue at stake here. And that is the security breach at the White House.

As others have pointed out, something went very wrong that could have exposed the President and India's Prime Minister to great harm. Although Secret Service issued a statement that all guests passed through multiple layers of security, including a magnometer, that begs the question that some of the worst threats, like bioterrorism, still could have gone undetected.

The White House does a good job of vetting guests. But any enterprise is only as good as its weakest link. And here its weakest link broke down badly.

Serious questions remain about what was going through the mind of the guard who allowed these people who were not on the White House guest list, and were therefore completely unvetted, to enter a secure area.

Given that it is common knowledge that President Obama has endured a historically high number of personal threats since early in his candidacy, it's highly unlikely that this was a routine slip up

I doubt I'm the only person questioning whether money crossed palms. And if so, did the Salahis act alone in offering a bribe or was the reality TV company involved?

I'm not saying that I know for sure that anything like that happened. But it sure better be one of the avenues being investigated because as well trained as the Secret Service is, I would have a lot of problems attributing this to mere carelessness on their part.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this.



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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, this is the iconic Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving poster.  I grew up with it because it was used as an ad in my local supermarket in New York.  Every fall, as November's holiday season approached, this was the poster that graced our local grocery store's front window - the all American holiday family gatheing.

I also grew up with several of Norman Rockwell's grandchildren.  My home, Rockland County, was a suburb of New York City.  As such, lots of artsy folks lived there.  Besides the Rockwell offspring, the actor Burgess Meredith, the composer John Cage, and his domestic partner, dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham, and actress Ellen Burstyn all lived in Rockland County.  And the first lady of stage, Helen Hayes called Rockland County home.  I didn't know all of them, of course.  But I did meet Meredith once and I also did pal around with the Rockwell grandchildren.

I won't tell you what a real "Norman Rockwell" Thanksgiving might have been like - but let's just say that one year it involved one of the grandchildren being carted off to Rockland State Hospital, a notorious state mental institution.  Such are the realities behind the myths we tell ourselves

All that said, those same myths are often what keep us sane in a world rapidly unraveling all around us.  So, in this holiday season, let's embrace the stories we tell ourselves about the comforts of family, brotherhood, and compassionate love.

In that spirit, I am off, as usual, to visit my dad in Fort Lauderdale.  That means that between now and the Christmas holidays, blogging will be light.   Unlike in years past, I do have my trusty iPhone.  That means I may post an occasional picture of a palm tree from New York's sixth borough

For all the iPhone blogging apps I've accumulated, let's be real.  In depth, well researched, link-heavy political posts with lots of blockquotes ain't gonna happen.  But, yes, an occasional photo or paragraph is a possibility.  And of course, there are always Twitter updates on my sidebar.

But most of all, I'll be otherwise occupied with family because the biggest myth is also the truest.  Cherish your families.  None of us are forever so enjoy the moment. That means I probably will play with my toys a lot less and pay attention to my father and my husband a lot more - so don't expect much posting.  And get away from that computer and enjoy your own friends and family live and in person.  There are just times when virtual reality doesn't cut it.  You need live reality!

So, on that note:  A happy, safe, and healthy holiday season to you and yours!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Advice President Obama Should Heed

Lowell Feld has an amazing post up on Blue Virginia, where he offers heart felt advice to President Obama.  Like a lot of us, Lowell is getting a disquieting feeling that the change we believed in is being replaced by the same old Washington dysfunctional politics we all worked so hard to replace. 

Like Lowell, I think President Obama is one of the most talented leaders to come along in our generation.  He could be a truly great leader because he has the personal charisma, elogquence and brilliance to move our country in a new direction, one that many of those who voted for him hunger for.

But there are two sides of him that are at war with one another.  There is the visionary who sees where he wants to take us versus the gentle, cool, brainy technocrat who truly wants us to get there by building bipartisan consensus.  Both sides are in a conflict because the reality is that Republicans do not want to build consensus.  They sense that in order to regain power, they must make President Obama fail.  But they are playing a dangerous zero sum game where we all go down with the president.

If the economy continues to tank, if we don't get health care reform, if we don't reverse climate change, if we don't build a fairer society where the middle class and working people can flourish, the nation and the world will be broken into so many pieces that even if the Republicans get back in power, they would be no more able to fix it than we are now.  Indeed, with any further deterioration of our current economic, environmental, and security conditions, it will be beyond repair. 

In a zero sum game, the winner takes all.  But even a winner can't multiply anything by the number zero and that's all that will be left.  It will be a phyrric victory at best.

For those reasons, I hope somebody who has an ear to this administration reads Lowell's incredible article and can get through to Obama that he must abandon his cool, detatched stance and show Americans that he cares passionately about fighting for his signature policies.  For now, he needs to abandon the quest for bipartisan compromise because it takes two sides to build a consensus and only one has been trying.  That quickly devolves into unilateral disarmanent, never a good plan for implementing policy.

Here's some additional advice to Obama, along the same lines as Lowell's counsel.

First, do the things that were promised.  Reverse the economy, build the middle class back up, bring prosperity and peace back to our land.  Fix the failed health care system so that every American has access to decent health care.  Do what you promised even if the Democrats have to go it alone to get it done.  When you succeed, the Republicans will compromise.  Because it will be far harder for them to argue with success than with timidity.

Connolly Wins Sally Ornsby Environmental Award. Also Announces Workshop for Open Season FEHB

I have a couple of announcements regarding Congressman Gerry Connolly.

The first is to congratulate him for winning the Sally Ormsby Environmental Award last Friday in Fairfax County.  For those of us who knew Sally Ormsby for years, this award is especially meaningful as she was a dedicated environmental activist who served as the Director of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.  I remember seeing her at many Democratic Party functions, talking with her, and listening to her and always admiring her breadth of knowledge and dedication to making Northern Virginia a better place for all of us. 

Connolly received this award for his own long work to improve the environment, including his early embrace of the Cool Counties initiative when he served as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  Besides that, he also championed smart growth and mixed use development clustered near metro stations to fight suburban sprawl.

Here is an excerpt from a press release I received from Connolly's office:
In accepting the award, Connolly said his efforts were aimed at “humanizing our community and leaving a wonderful legacy for future generations.” Connolly stressed the importance of parks in rapidly urbanizing and developing areas of the County. Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who presented the award to Connolly, said, “He is a man of accomplishment and vision. He is an environmentalist and a realist. He has demonstrated the ability to make positive environmental change and to lead others to understand why those changes are important.”

Connolly is recognized as the “father” of the recently-completed 41-mile Cross County Trail from the Potomac River to the Occoquan, which he cited at the ceremony as one of his proudest achievements. Working with the late Sally Ormsby, he developed the County’s first 20-year environmental plan. His proposal to create “dog parks” where dogs could run and play without leashes was met with skepticism at first, but over time they have become some of the most popular parks in the county.

More than 1,500 acres of parkland were added to the county during Connolly’s tenure as part of his plan to increase the total amount of the county’s parkland holdings to 10 percent of the land mass in Fairfax. Today, nearly 1 out of every 10 acres in Fairfax is open space. Similarly, Connolly started an aggressive program to halt the elimination of the tree canopy in the county with a goal of increasing it to 45 percent. Today the canopy has reached 41 percent.
Once again, congratulations to Representative Connolly for his dedication and hard work on environmental issues in Fairfax County.

In addition to this, Gerry Connolly's office is announcing an Open Season Workshop for Federal Employees on November 30 to help federal employees navigate their health benefits package and make any changes. 

Every year, the federal govenment holds an open season so that feds can switch health insurance plans, add coverage, and make any changes to beneficiaries who are covered under their plans.  As a service to any readers who work for the federal government, I will print the press release from Connolly's office in its entirety:
FAIRFAX – To help federal employees and retirees navigate through the many changes in the 2010 Federal Employees Health Benefits plans, dental and vision insurance programs, and flexible spending accounts, Congressman Gerry Connolly will hold an Open Season Workshop on November 30.

Connolly’s Open Season Workshop for Federal Employees and Retirees will take place at the Fairfax County Government Center on Monday, November 30, from 10 am to noon. The address is 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA.

“Most FEHB plans have benefit and rate changes for 2010 so it is important that federal employees and retirees know the details on how their current plans are changing and whether or not there is another option that better suits their needs,” Connolly said. “Some plans are changing their coverage options or service areas, while others are dropping out of the FEHB program so it is important that every federal employees and retiree reviews the status of their current coverage.”

Connolly urged every federal employee and retiree, as well as survivor and former spouse annuitants to make sure they review their FEHB plan coverage and other benefits before Open Season ends on December 14. “Federal employees, retirees, and annuitants who have questions or want to make sure that they have the coverage they need and want under the FEHB plans is welcome to attend my Open Season Workshop on November 30,” he said.

Congressman Connolly’s Open Season workshop will feature:

· Dean Schleicher, the Office of Personnel Management’s project leader for the FEHB program annual Open Season and an expert on health plan performance and quality

· Walt Francis, an economist and policy analyst who has authored CHECKBOOK’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees for three decades and worked for the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services.

· Representatives of various FEHB health plans who will be available to provide information and answer questions concerning plan offerings for 2010

Federal employees seeking further information about FEHB plans can visit OPM’s FEHB Open Season website at: http://www.opm.gov/insure/openseason/ .

Federal retirees, survivor annuitants, and former spouse annuitants can get additional information concerning their Open Season options at: https://retireefehb.opm.gov/index.asp .

Both of these OPM websites contain detailed information about FEHB plans, dental insurance, vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts for federal employees and dependents. The sites also provide links to frequently asked questions and other information that federal employees and retirees might need to help them make decisions about their current and future coverage.

Federal employees, retirees, or annuitants seeking more information about the Open Season workshop may call Connolly’s District Office at 703-256-3071.
Thank you to Congressman Connolly and to his staff for presenting this workshop for federal employees, who make up a large percentage of his constituents.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Further Testing

This is an old picture of Dan.


- I am testing to see if this works better for posting pics than Blog It or Blogger's mobile posting via email, neither of which worked very well.

If this little experiment works, it will be the last one. Promise!



Stupid Blog Tricks

In my continuing effort to find new and annoying apps for my iPhone, I just bought a new blogging app and now I want to test it.

Now the thing about these little experiments - my adventures in mobile blogging series - is that they have the distinction of 1) making my blog look like it was written by a two year old having a bad day; 2) it frequently embarrasses me; and 3) it probably irritates my readers because they then have to endure a badly written post and also my whining about the whole thing.

Nevetheless, because hope springs eternal that I will find the perfect app to justify my buying the iPhone in the first place and because I will be traveling quite a bit with no access to my desktop, here goes another stupid blog trick - or as I prefer to call it - "testing, testing."

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Thank You Congressman Perriello - New Ad

Americans United for Change has just released this ad thanking Tom Perriello for his courageous vote in favor of health care reform. As many Virginians know, Perriello won an upset victory in the conservative 5th District. Throughout August there were countless teabagger protests at his district offices and protesters disrupted his town hall meetings. Perriello met with the protesters numerous times, earning a reputation for grace under pressure as he listened respectfully to their objections and engaged them in civil conversation.

In the end, he voted his conscience, kept his promises to his constituents, and voted for the best interests of his district and the country.

I will admit that I have a sharp disagreement with Mr. Perriello over the Stupak amendment, which would prevent women from purchasing coverage for abortions, even with their own money, from private insurance companies, which will be on the new exchange. But Perriello promised his constituents that he would never vote for funding of abortions. Again, I disagree with him on this, but I respect him and the fact that he is keeping his word in a district where that is the majority view. If we don't like it, let's try to change hearts and minds with civil and well reasoned arguments rather than blaming a congressman for doing his job and keeping his promise. Anyway, here is the video from Americans United for Change.



Thank you, indeed, Representative Perriello. Everybody knows you have had a target on your back from the national Republican Party from day one. Congratulations for your grace and courage.

And on another note, my own congressman, Gerry Connolly, is also under siege from teabaggers. I received a robocall tonight from Americans for Prosperity inviting me to attend a protest at Connolly's district offices in Woodbridge and Annandale tomorrow afternoon.

Let's not forget that most of those in Congress who voted for health care reform have spent months under siege from extremist groups who have exhibited rude and insulting behavior, comparing those with whom they differ to communists and Nazis (I believe you can either be a communist or Nazi but not both since they are diametrically opposite groups - one being extreme left and the other extreme right - but let's not apply logic here).

So, please show your support for those in Congress who stood up and supported us. Once again, in Virginia that includes Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran, Bobby Scott, and Tom Perriello. We need to remember and see that their courage is rewarded in the midterm elections.

In any case, all those who voted to make health care reform possible have my profound appreciation.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Thank You Connolly, Periello, Moran, and Scott

I spent most of last night watching the C-SPAN debate and the votes for the historic health care bill, which passed with the public option. Lowell, has up an excellent "Cheers and Jeers" post and I agree with his assessments.

Last night, some on Twitter expressed anger at Tom Perriello for voting yes on the Stupak Amendment, limiting access to funding for abortion (those in the health exchanges would not be able to use federal funds or subsidies to pay for insurance that covers abortions). But Perriello has taken fire in his district, including a bruising summer meeting with teabaggers and holding townhalls meetings throughout his district. I believe he actually has spent more time dealing with angry citizens than most of his counterparts. He's put himself in the line of fire. Here's what Lowell said.
Cheers
Tom Perriello (5th CD): It wasn't easy, but in the end he did the right thing on the overall bill, voting "yes." More than that, Tom Perriello proved himself a courageous leader when he faced dozens of angry "town hall" meetings in August, presented his views firmly but respectfully, listened to his constituents, read the bill, thought long and hard about it, and then voted the way he thought was right. That's extremely admirable, and I just wanted to thank Tom Perriello for being a thoughtful public servant who takes his job extremely seriously.
I heartily concur with that assessment. Personally, I strongly oppose the Stupak Amendement and will do all I can to encourage Congress to remove it in conference. If that fails, I will continue to work behind the scenes to help create more understanding of why this is bad law and needs to be changed. But we couldn't let a good bill be shot down by one bad amendment. The old cliche that you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good applies here.

That said, a productive response is to move on, pass the bill, but know that our work is not over. There is nothing to prevent us from continuing to press for a change in law down the road.

Others who deserve our thanks include Gerry Connolly, my representative; Bobby Scott; and Jim Moran, all of whom voted for the health care bill and also voted no on the Stupak Amendment.

On the other hand, two Virginia Democrats voted against the health care reform bill, Glenn Nye and Rick Boucher. Again, I agree with Lowell, who writes:
Glenn Nye (2nd CD): Arguably, the biggest disappointment among any Democrat in the House of Representatives, Glenn Nye added a "no" vote on this historic legislation to his previous "no" vote on historic climate and clean energy legislation. Unfortunately for Glenn Nye, voting over and over against history could make him...well, "history" in 2010. Bad, bad mistake, both on substantive policy as well as political grounds by Nye. I'm already hearing serious rumblings of a potential primary challenge to Nye. Stay tuned... [Note: in fairness, I should mention that Nye voted "no" on the Stupak amendment, but that hardly makes up for his vote against the overall health reform bill]
And of Boucher
Rick Boucher (9th CD): For years, many of us progressive activists figured that Boucher was simply the best we could get from a tough district politically. And, indeed, Boucher votes about 98% of the time with his Democratic colleagues. Still, last night's vote by Boucher against health reform was not good. Not good at all. [Again, in fairness, Boucher voted no on the Stupak amendment.]
In cases like this, I would defer to the best judgment of local progressive grassroots and netroots activists on what they want to do about primarying local electeds based on votes. Based on last night, I've been hearing more anger at Nye, whom Lowell called "arguably the biggest disappointment..."

For now, we have more to be happy about because this long fought for bill passed one of its biggest hurdles - making it out of the House. Next, the Senate takes it up and then it goes to conference. So, our work isn't finished by a long shot, but let's take a moment to savor one victory down. And to thank our local congressmen who helped make it happen.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Election Results and the Art of Local Spin

There are many good sites where you can find all the Wednesday morning quarterbacking and lots of bloggers all too happy to tell you what went wrong yesterday in Virginia. Most of what they say is true.

The campaign from the top down was not well managed. The lack of a coordinated campaign and the disorganization of the DPVA, the DGA's not coming through with money in the general election, our being seriously outspent, the campaign itself not having a coherent message or strategy - all true. Yes, they stayed on the thesis far too long and spent far too little time talking about who Creigh Deeds was and what he stood for. There was no positive message, no reason for voters to vote for Deeds. And the Deeds Country tour was ill-conceived . Deeds should have been campaigning in the urban crescent of Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton Road. And on and on.

And, yes, they were going against a stiff head wind from history. For 24 years, the party that takes the White House loses the state house in Virginia. In addition to all the campaign missteps, a blow out this big also says that the Democratic base was dispirited and unhappy with the Democratic Party. And to deny that Obama had anything to do with it is pure self-serving spin.

Lowell is fond of quoting Jim Webb, "the fish rots from the head." Guess what? It does. And that head isn't in Virginia. Not when we also lost New Jersey and an important vote on same sex marriage in liberal Maine. It's all unconnected, all local - oh really?

Some want to claim that our loss in Virginia is all the fault of the state party and the campaign and is unconnected to what went on elsewhere.

Yeah, right!

It's as if they never read Huffington Post, which daily runs diaries by well known progressives about why they are discouraged with Obama's leadership. There is this from Arianna herself.
Indeed, reading the book, I often found myself wondering what Candidate Obama would think of President Obama. Would he look at what the White House is doing and say, "that's what I and my supporters worked so hard for?"

How did the candidate who got into the race because he'd decided that "the core leadership had turned rotten" and that "the people were getting hosed" become the president who has decided that the American people can only have as much change as Olympia Snowe will allow?

How did the candidate who told a stadium of supporters in Denver that "the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result" become the president who has surrounded himself with the same old players trying the same old politics, expecting a different result?

How could a president whose North Star as a candidate was that he "would not forget the middle class" choose as his chief economic advisor a man who recently argued against extending unemployment benefits in the middle of the worst economic times since the Great Depression?
Huffington goes on to rightly castigate Obama's reliance on Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic adviser and former Clinton-era Treasury Secretary, who opposed extending unemployment benefits and favored bank bailouts but no aid to middle class homeowners facing foreclosure.

Following Huffington's blog post, is this one from Dave Zirin, sports correspondent to Nation Magazine.
But if last night's election results reveal nothing else, the time for swooning over photo-ops has long passed. This is not rocket science. Throughout the country, Republican turnout stayed the same as in 2008 while Democratic turnout cratered. That's what happens when you don't deliver the goods. For all the people who voted Democrat because they wanted to bring home the troops, stand for civil rights for all people, and see real job creation and union protections, the last year has been a thin gruel indeed.

It's not about accomplishing my personal laundry list of wishes. It's about forward progress -- or even effort -- from the Oval office. The White House didn't say one word about the Maine referendum to protect LBGT marriage equality. AG Holder even said last week that he didn't "know enough about it" to comment, which was both a lie and a slap in the face. Obama hasn't fought a lick for the pro-labor Employee Free Choice Act or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act known as ENDA. And please don't mention Afghanistan, Iraq or the Wall Street bailouts. Please don't mention an economic policy geared toward socializing debt and privatizing profit. There is no effort coming from the White House that moves the people toward the direction that people rallied, campaigned, and voted for in 2008 and that is an indictment of this administration. It also reveals something very bankrupt about the nature of our political system and the Democratic Party. The people spoke and it mattered little. Now we need to do more.
Indeed, there has been a steady drumbeat of disappointment with Obama's leadership and his choices over at Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Daily Kos, and other national progressive sites.

Don't get me wrong. None of these people dislike him. None of them want to take their vote back. But progressives nationally are growing disheartened as they watch health care reform, the public option, EFCA, cap and trade and a bunch of other Democratic legislation being pushed to the back burner by delay after delay. After all, this is the party that won 53 percent of the presidential vote, 59 seats in the Senate, and should be claiming a mandate, not kissing Queen Olympia's ring and begging for her approval.

To be sure, I think a large number of people really do want bipartisanship. And they want civility. They can see clearly that Obama is civil and has tried his level best to achieve that bipartisan cooperation. He's stood up to his own party's liberal to attempt compromise with Congressional conservatives . I think most voters get it that he's done his level best and that the other side has been intractable. Now, those voters who went to the polls last November really want the change they voted for.

While Virginia Democrats squabble that Deeds lost young people and blacks didn't show up, the reason that happened was both that Deeds didn't give them a reason to, and neither has Obama, Emanuel and Harry Reid. Voters wanted civility. But they didn't want real reform sacrificed to a false god of bipartisanship. And the public hungers for a leader, not a capitulator in chief. That's why a good deal of the base stayed home.

That is especially true in Northern Virginia. Look, lots of voters here are federal employees. Or they work for contractors. In either case, they are more plugged into Washington than Richmond. And they have a better grasp of beltway politics than they do of state politics. Perhaps more than in any other part of the state, what happens in Washington, DC actually is local for them.

Finally, Nate Silver, one of the best statisticians offered this comparison between Virginia and New Jersey, the other state that switched from blue to red, though with not nearly as devastating a result.
In New Jersey, you had an electorate that gave Barack Obama a 57 percent approval rating -- the identical fraction to the 57 percent that elected Obama last November. In Virginia, Obama's approval rating was 47 percent, a significant drop from the 53 percent of the vote that he earned.

In New Jersey, it was Jon Corzine who tried to nationalize the race, making sure that everyone knew that Chris Christie was a Republican. And insofar as this went, it worked: voters who said their main issue was health care went for Corzine 78-19 (!), according to exit polls, and he won voters focused on the economy and jobs 58-36. Christie won because he focused on two local issues that are very important to New Jerseyans -- corruption and property taxes, and won overwhelmingly among voters who keyed in on these issues. In Virginia, meanwhile, it was Bob McDonnell who won the economy voters -- 57-42, and the candidates split the vote among those most concerned about health care.
As much as I hate to go against the wind in the Virginia blogosphere, Democrats have to realize the truth, which is that all politics isn't local - that oft-quoted statement was made by a very wise man in the middle of the last century who didn't live long enough to experience the instant connection of today's Internet, blogs, and Facebook and Twitter feeds, which make the whole globe local.

Indeed, a bank that fails on Wall Street can bring down an economy in London, Germany, and Singapore. So much for our definition of local

All politics is local, national and global. It's all interconnected now. So Creigh Deeds' bad campaign, growing impatience with change that is getting harder to believe in, and Democrats running for cover from governing by hiding in Olympia Snowe's coat pocket all had a hand in the debacle. Because it wasn't local. We lost Virginia big. We lost New Jersey, and we lost an important vote on same sex marriage in Maine. That's lack of leadership and competence from the top down.

Anything else is just spin.