Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Busby Loses House Race in California. Get Ready for the Repuglican Spin that the Democrats' Message Has Failed
The battle for the House seat vacated by imprisoned former congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham is now over, and a Republican has retained the seat. Lobbyist and former congressman Brian Bilbray has defeated Democratic challenger Francine Busby in a costly and contentious race in California's 50th district special election. The district has for years been a Republican bastion, although recent polls showed the candidates in a dead heat. But it was a close call. In what is most certainly a blow to the GOP--the race should have been a cakewalk given the Repuglican stronghold on the district--Bilbray won by just about four points. The tightness of this contest could be a foreshadowing of major problems for the Repugs come November, as they desperately strive to retain control of the House.
But just wait. We're sure to be hammered by the Repuglican spin-meisters that the election proves that Democrats are losers with a failed message. You can just hear Rush, Hannity and the chorus of right wing blowhards....
"See? All this talk of Bush's low approval ratings, the war, Katrina, the economy, gas prices.....doesn't mean a thing. Voters simply sent another Republican in to replace the outgoing one. The Democrats had no resonating message in '04, they didn't have one Tuesday, and they won't have one in November."
But the Democrats weren't supposed to win in Cali's 50th district. Busby wasn't supposed to come so close. Nor was she supposed to run neck and neck in the polls leading up to Tuesday's election. The district's been controlled by the GOP for many years, and had voted for Bush in '04 by a solid 10-point margin. That Busby came as close as she did, in such a Republican dominated district, is an undeniable win for the Democrats, and a wake-up call to conservatives that November could be a disaster. Trying to claim bragging rights in this particular victory would be like Larry Brown boasting after the Knicks beat a high school team by 4 points.
Lastly, in the Bilbray-Busby contest, immigration was a key factor. The 50th district borders near Mexico, and Bilbray parlayed this proximity into an aggressive stand against illegal immigration. The reality? Take this issue out of the race, and take this race out of Southern California, and voters would've likely sent the Democrat off to Washington.