There is still a year to go before the 2012 General Election. But if this past Tuesday’s election is any indication, party spin machines are going to be working overtime between now and then.
After any elections, Democrats and Republicans will brag about victories and downplay losses. That’s what they’re supposed to do.
But good grief. If you read the press releases from Georgia’s party flacks this past week, you’d think they were talking about not just two different elections, but elections taking place on two different planets.
Both, in essence, claimed victory while predicting the doom of the other. That’s perfectly OK, except that they both can’t be correct. Elections, unlike peewee-league football, don’t have an Everybody Gets a Trophy Day.
Georgia’s Republican Party, in their main statement after the election, focused on partisan special elections for four vacant General Assembly seats. “Of the 41,431 votes cast, a grand total of 3,545, or just 8.5 percent, were punched for the Democratic candidates,” the GOP crowed, for a “complete sweep” of special elections in the Republican-controlled state Legislature.
Democrats, however, gave themselves the blue-state ribbon, claiming victory in local elections.
The standard for declaring victory in some cases, however, is puzzling. For example, a communique listing this year’s “gains” by the party described (without listing names) Vernon Thomas’ loss to Bill Morris in the County Commission special election, raving that “our challenger came within 1 percent of becoming the first Democrat elected to County Commission.”
I guess no one told them that “close” counts only in horseshoes and hand grenades.
They did, however, list some actual, local victories: election of a Democratic mayor in Republican Snellville, the shift to five Democrats and two Republicans on Savannah City Council, and victories in city council races in a couple of little places you’ve probably never heard of.
Take ’em where you can get ’em, I suppose.
Still, after laughing at the state Democrats’ claims of “victory” in races where they didn’t even win, the Republicans had better be serious about making sure they have some candidates in place for those seemingly less important races around the state.
All they need to do is look to nearby Warren County to see why. In the last presidential election, the possible elevation of Barack Obama greatly changed the turnout, and as a result upended a previously functioning school board.
The near-worthless candidates elected as a result did tremendous damage before the governor ousted them from office. Without minor-leaguers ready to run, Republicans might face that scenario all over again in next year’s General Election with Obama back at the top of the ticket.
Remember: Obama didn’t win Georgia last time around, either. But there are other races on the ballot, too, and Republicans had better not forget it – unless they want to be next in putting a positive spin on defeat.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com or call (706) 863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/