Senior White House adviser David Axelrod just made an appearance on MSNBC, and, as host Andrea Mitchell asked him about the elections last night (which, by the way, are being cast by some as an "awful day" for President Obama) and their implications, Axelrod noted that Democrat Bill Owens' surprise victory in New York's conservative 23rd district might pull some Blue Dog Democrats more in line with the president's agenda:
I think as the Blue Dogs welcome their new colleague Congressman Owens and remind themselves that he's the first Democrat to hold that seat in 140 years, since Ulysses S. Grant, and that he campaigned on the Obama program, they'll have to say, 'You know what, we're onto something here if we stick with the program...'
Post-election analysis from party strategists is to be taken with a grain of salt, and, especially the day after an election, it's probably healthier to take it with more than one grain. But Axelrod's point is well-reasoned: if Conservative Doug Hoffman had won--and particularly if he had won big--it would have served as a warning to Democrats in conservative districts that anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-Obama-agenda sentiment will be a powerful force in 2010.
Instead, the White House and Democratic House leaders get to remind them that, despite the quirks of the three-way (until this weekend) NY-23 race, it was the Democrat who came out ahead...and that the program might be worth sticking with.