This is an off year for elections, but there were still some notable polls in several states. Elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and referendums in California were watched nationally because the outcome was expected to take the pulse of a nation reeling from the unbelievably inept leadership of our president.
In Republican-leaning Virginia Tim Kaine won a solid victory, beating Republican Jerry Kilgore for governor of that state. Pres. Bush campaigned for Kilgore and paid him an election-eve visit. It could have been the final nail in Kilgore’s political coffin.
And in New Jersey, Democrat Jon Corzine handily defeated Republican Doug Forrester by 10 percentage points in that state’s gubernatorial race.
In California, Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger failed in his attempt to get four ballot measures passed: removing legislators' redistricting powers, capping spending, making teachers work five years instead of two to pass probation, and restricting political spending by public employee unions.
He campaigned heavily for the measures in an attempt to rein in the democratically-controlled Assembly. Schwarzenegger, who was the keynote speaker at the last Republican National Convention, is up for reelection next year.
And on the local level things are changing as well. Republican Vernon Robinson lost the Winston-Salem, N.C. city council seat he held. Robinson made national headlines last year when he erected a monument displaying the Ten Commandments in front of City Hall without the permission of the council.
Although these may be relatively minor victories, democrats are quick to jump on them as proof that the mess the Bush administration has made of things is finally beginning to sink in to most Americans, even some conservative ones.
Are mainstream Americans beginning to come to the conclusion that they may have erred when they voted for what they thought was a man who stood for principles and honor? In 2004 they voted for a national sense of morality instead of promised economic stability. Instead they got neither.
It’s not a democratic or a republican issue. At least it shouldn’t be.
It’s an issue of what is right for this country. And, according to the latest polls, a great majority of Americans now believe what’s right is not Bush.
What’s right also is not the religious right, some of whom were swept into office in 2000 or 2004 on Bush’s coattails.
In Kansas, for example, those who seek a world-class education for their children are perplexed and angered at the international notoriety their state has achieved at the hands of ultra-conservative members of the state’s board of education. Six out of 10 members of that board voted this year to include the religious concept of intelligent design in the science classroom. It’s a concept Bush supports as well.
In Pennsylvania, the same issue was taken to court after a Dover school board voted to include intelligent design in biology classes. But, fortunately, the voters beat the court to the punch when they ousted all eight of the conservative board members who made that ill-founded decision.
The antics of the Dover electorate brought the ire of ultra-conservative TV evangelist Pat Robertson. He said residents of Dover might not get God’s help if they ever had a local emergency.
He said they may be better off praying for the help of the late Charles Darwin, founder of evolutionary theory. “If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them,” Robertson quipped.
Who is this guy, and what planet is he from?
Earlier this year he called for the assassination of the president of Venezuela. Last summer he prayed on live TV during the broadcast of his 700 Club for another Supreme Court justice to either die or retire so that Bush could nominate a solid conservative. And in 2003 he suggested that maybe the State Department should be blown up with a nuclear device.
Perhaps what his 700 Club patrons really should pray for is for him to seek treatment from a competent therapist.
If a person like Robertson is 100 percent behind George W. Bush, then maybe that’s a sign for mainstream America to reject the president’s policies outright. And just maybe that is what they are starting to do.