Tuesday's elections prompted extensive high-level prognosticating and a few eye-rolling reminders that these were a very small number of state and local races, not a national referendum on President Obama's policies. Few pundits seemed able to resist either drawing huge conclusions or mocking those who did. But the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen, a liberal blogger with a keen eye for policy, avoids the pitfalls of both. Benen reports that in the wake of the Republican civil war in New York's 23rd Congressional District, the National Republican Senatorial Committee will no longer weigh in on primary fights. Benen explains:
The problem, of course, is that the Republican base doesn't want the NRSC to intervene -- the establishment may want an "electable" candidate, but activists want their candidate. And after the unpleasantness in New York's 23rd, the base is making the demands more explicit -- don't intervene ... or else. [...]
NRSC's neutrality in primaries may have real practical implications. In Florida, for example, party leaders see Gov. Charlie Crist (R) as a shoo-in on Election Day, but right-wing activists prefer state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R). In California, the party has high hopes for Carly Fiorina's (R) Senate campaign, but the base prefers far-right state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R). That [NRSC Chairmain John] Cornyn is just voluntarily giving up some of his power -- a year before the election -- because he's afraid of the Tea Party/Fox News/Palin crowd, is pretty remarkable.
Benen reported on a little-discussed outcome of Tuesday's elections that will have concrete national consequences. He found a serious political event that required neither the vivid imagination nor extensive speculation that most other predictions relied on. Perhaps just as importantly, he contributed solid analysis rather than throwing tomatoes at those who did.