Pundits take too much from election results

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By Hal Rhodes

Last week in many parts of the nation voters went to the polls to ballot in what any number of online jabberers and cable television babblers took to calling “off-off-year elections.”
The term “off-year elections” has long been the customary way to designate those elections held two years before and/or two years after a presidential election.
So in an age like ours, where political campaigns have become perpetual and uninterrupted, it was perhaps inevitable that some would conjure up a phrase for elections that are held between presidential and “off-year” elections.
Thus, after last week’s elections in Virginia, New Jersey, New York City and all sorts of other places, many Americans found themselves watching returns on those ubiquitous cable TV stations where talking heads feign to be profound about the results of the “off-off-year elections” of 2013.
For those who have had it up to here with wall-to-wall politics it was almost certainly a dreary spectacle. For those who have resigned themselves to the fact that politics is a growth industry in these United States it was most likely proof positive that a good many pundits posing as “experts” can make a lot of noise without making a lick of sense. It’s amazing if you stop and reflect upon it.
Case in point: When the incumbent governor in New Jersey, Chris Christie, was declared the victor in his bid for a second term, it suddenly became a “given” that he was in line to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.
With rare exceptions, one after another online and cable TV gurus of instant political wisdom wanted it understood that Christie’s big reelection win had all suddenly transformed him into the frontrunner, thereby reducing such right-wing GOP presidential wannabe as Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to the status of “also-rans” on the spot.
We’re talking three years down the road here, folks. This was an “off-off-year” election! It’s loony.
Loonier still was speculation to the effect that Christie’s 2016 running mate might well turn out to be none other than New Mexico’s very own Susana Martinez.
Christie for president! Martinez for vice president!
Why, only the day before his reelection, hadn’t Martinez been in New Jersey campaigning for Christie? And didn’t he run well this time with Hispanic voters in his state?
I’m not making this stuff up. It all happened. One election took place and suddenly cadres of ostensibly sensible “analysts” collectively conjure up a narrative proffered as a plausible scenario of our political future.
And conjecture is all we have here, flights of fancy with scant if any mooring in reason, fact or logic. Which not to say it is inconceivable. A Christie-Martinez ticket might be the Republicans’ dream pairing in 2016.
It might even come to pass. And it might return the GOP to the White House.
Who knows? But before any of that can happen, shouldn’t we first have the “off-year election” of 2014? Isn’t that the necessary order of things?
I mean, before anyone starts putting Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico on a Republican presidential ticket headed by newly-reelected Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey wouldn’t it at the very least require Gov. Martinez to get reelected herself next year?
Wouldn’t it also behoove Gov. Christie to announce that he wanted the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and then to go on to win it? These cable television talking heads and their online prognosticating counterparts, in all their vaunted wisdom, too often forget that first things necessarily come first.
And hot air does little to change that.