By Dave Andrusko
The screenshot that accompanies this post was all over the Internet last night–and today. Taken by a deputy assistant to the president, on the National Security Council staff, it shows a decidedly unhappy (and virulently anti-Donald Trump) CNN panel pondering the meaning of it all now that pro-life Republican Karen Handel had beaten pro-abortion Democrat Jon Ossoff.
Last night NRLC put out an excellent summary of what took place in the special election to fill Georgia’s 6th congressional district, a seat left vacant when pro-life Rep. Tom Price became Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Let me suggest six conclusions about the most expensive congressional race in history and what it may portend.
#1. First and foremost it means that pro-life Republicans are 4 for 4 in the special elections to replace pro-lifers President Trump chose to fill important places in his Administration and one for one in a mayoral race. In addition to Handel’s 4 point victory, National Right to Life-endorsed candidates won in Kansas’ 4th congressional district, Omaha’s mayoral election, Montana’s at-large special election, and South Carolina’s 5th congressional district. (We will have a separate story today about Ralph Norman’s victory last night which was largely overlooked because of the massive attention paid to Handel/Ossoff.)
For reasons we needn’t go into here, Planned Parenthood and NARAL especially zeroed in on Handel. Defeating this super-engaged pro-abortion duo is especially sweet.
#2. There was a lot of talk that Handel was not a super candidate, almost as much talk about the fact that Ossoff didn’t even live in the 6th CD. One (the latter) is true. One (the former) is not.
As the Washington Post (surprisingly) acknowledged in one of its stories, “Handel, 55, has been a fixture of local politics for 15 years. She chaired the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, served as Georgia secretary of state and narrowly lost GOP primaries to become governor in 2010 and then senator in 2014. She had the baggage that comes with being a career politician, but her deep roots and relationships certainly helped far more than they hurt. She was a known commodity who came into the race with high name identification.” Ossoff was best known (besides for being a carpetbagger) for raising boatloads of money.
Just a bit ago, Ossoff was ahead by 7 points in some polls. Handel closed fast and clearly had the momentum. From 7 down to winning by four–pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?
#3. For a day or two, the media narrative will not exclusively be about divisions within the Republican Party, real and imaginary. Not to coin a phrase, but the Democratic Party is in the midst of a full-blown identity crisis. The hatred of the even-more-to-the-Left Left is truly frightening. That hatred is almost as intense for the Democratic “Establishment” as it is for President Trump.
They believe they need (to borrow from another Post story written last night) more “warriors” than “priests.”
In English that means to display even a modicum of civility is to be a traitor to the “Resistance.” They are not pleased that Ossoff didn’t push enough “hot buttons” hard enough or often enough.
To paraphrase a very famous saying from the 1960s, they believe “Extremism in defense of raw political power is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of revenge is no virtue.”
#4. Democrats truly were all in. Trailers full of money, political advertisements, professions of a sophisticated “ground game,” vows that Ossoff’s victory would be proof positive that Republicans in general, President Trump in particular are in a death spiral. No wonder the mood of CNN’s panel ran from frustration to near-despair.
#5. Of course the results of any one election can be over-interpreted. What else is new? Had Ossoff won, do you think the Post and the New York Times and the networks would have said, “Hey, no big deal, it’s just one election”? Of course not.
But writing on the Post’s PostPartisan blog, the GOP’s Ed Rogers was on to something.
“By any measure, the victory proves the Republican political machine is alive and working well,” he said. “If anything this race proves Republicans have no reason to be defensive as a result of Obamacare’s demise, it shows Republicans have nothing to hide from in the age of Trump and it signifies that nothing about the current faux-scandal-ridden environment has produced a downdraft for Republicans.”
In other words, Republicans needed to be reminded of a truth. The Democrats and their legion of supporters in Hollywood and the Establishment Media have one goal–and have since the hour Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton: to delegitimize his administration which requires in part that Trump supporters and even Republicans who are not his biggest fans to believe the media narrative that all is (already!) lost. Finally
#6. Rogers spoke a truth that even some Democrats (more after last night) are beginning to reluctantly acknowledge: “Democrats thought they were going to walk away from Tuesday’s race victorious, but they have yet to produce a viable person-to-person message for their candidates to work with.”
This is strikingly similar to what Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes concluded in Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.
Why was Clinton running for President for a second time? She had no rationale, no reason other than the self-serving notion that the public owed it to her. No wonder she was tone-deaf and arrogant.
According to Allen and Parnes, inside the campaign it became a kind of parlor joke among staff but became such an obvious crippling source of weakness that (to quote the book) “Clinton staffers began toying with the idea of seeing how ‘Because it’s her turn’ might fly as a public rallying cry.”
Yikes. It’s “her turn”?!
That’s where Democrats find themselves now. To be sure, tagging Ossoff to pro-abortion Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) is a tried and true strategy. Outside of California and similar left-wing precincts, she is incredibly unpopular.
But add to this that “there is no there there”–Democrats have nothing to offer other than they despise Donald Trump, aka “Democracy Dies in Darkness” (to quote the Post’s apocalyptic new motto–and you see why a few calmer heads in the party are asking that they at least consider going back to the drawing board. That idea, of course, will go nowhere.
Thanks to all the good voters of these four congressional districts and hats off to the National Right to Life Victory Fund which contacted thousands of identified pro-life voters in Georgia by mail, phone, and through social media with information about the enormous life-and-death differences between Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff.
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