November 3rd, 2010
11:22 AM ET

Opinion: A Victory for checks and balances

[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://cnnpoliticalticker.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/t1larg-cnn100-capitol-t1larg3.jpg?w=283&h=159 width=300 height=169]Editor's note: The hotly contested campaign for the midterm elections is over. As the results come in, CNN's political contributors share their quick thoughts on what's making news.

Avlon: A victory for checks and balances

So far, the election isn't quite the far-right stampede it was supposed to be. Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania were putting on strong showings in their Senate races; Independent gubernatorial candidates Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and Eliot Cutler in Maine were also hanging tough.

This election is not - and was never - an outright endorsement of the GOP. It is about independents swinging against unified Democratic control of Washington.

There's also a lot of evidence of ticket splitting this year; look at the GOP's Tom Corbett sailing into the governorship in Pennsylvania, but Pat Toomey trailing his total. In Oregon, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden was returned to office, but GOP candidate (and former NBA star) Chris Dudley was also elected. This is happening across the country: Voters want the checks and balances but aren't willing to straight-ticket vote if one of the candidates is on the extremes. This is about trying to re-balance government, not empower a new ideological movement.

It's a victory for the founding fathers' vision of checks and balances.

John P. Avlon is a CNN contributor, senior political columnist for The Daily Beast, and author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America."
[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://cnnpoliticalticker.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/t1larg-rubio.jpg?w=640 caption="Republican Marco Rubio won the Florida Governor's race last night over Democrat Kendrick Meek and current Governor, Independent Charlie Christ." width=300 height=169]

Bennett: Vice President Rubio in 2013

Tuesday was a great night for Republicans because as Marco Rubio said, we now have a second chance. It's still important to remember this country is not quite yet a Republican country, but as of Tuesday night it is saying it is most definitely not a Democratic Party country either.

Let us celebrate, but then let us get to work, the serious work we promised.

We must keep our promises, and we must never cease explaining not only our positions but also why we hold them. And look forward to Vice President Rubio in 2013.

William Bennett, a Republican strategist and radio talk show host, is a former education secretary and federal drug czar.

Read more from Paul Begala, Erick Erickson, and James Carville...

Filed under: 2010 Elections • Opinion • Raw Politics
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Sam

    I think that the focus on politics rather than solutions will make the country less governable. I'd like to see news organizations focus on individual score cards to hold the elected officials "feet to the fire" based on what they say rather than what they do and how effective they are. Figure out how to track elected officials on the economy/jobs and report it!

    November 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  2. Jeanine

    I don't think President Obama should hang his head in shame over this mid-term election. He has done an outstanding job keeping a lid on the economy getting any worse. This election was won by the Republicans because they immediately started negative campaigning the minute Pres. Obama was sworn into office. It has never stopped and it won't until they get him out of office.The American people better wake up and see what they are doing to this country.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  3. Winnie in Florida

    It seems to me that it was a 3-party race and no party really won.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  4. Shari from Madison

    You have the gaul to talk about checks and balances? I know why, republicans care only for the health of their bank balance and how many checks they get from the people who paid for them to get and stay in office.

    November 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Mitch McConnell says Republicans 1st order of business is to make sure President Obama fails. Now hows that for a plan, but finally they did come up with one.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Whether the voters voted in checks and balances, or voted the Democrats out because of the economy, or voted for more conservatives because they reflect the voters' beliefs more, I just hope that the result of this election does not include increased polarization like the election in the 1990s that resulted in Newt Gingrich being speaker. Politics and Washington were very ugly then and I have no wish to see it again.

    I thank Paul Begala for his summary of Pelosi's achievements. I had no idea of how much was done under her tenure. Hopefully, our next speaker will emulate her record of achievement and move Congress forward on the issues that affect most American citizens.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  7. Tim Gibson

    It was a clear victory for the people.

    November 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  8. Steven in Canada

    This mid term result financed by right wing oil, has again brainwashed Americans with the fear of socialism and science and has given the 'Haves' the right to not have to give up anything for the benefit of the 'Many' nor allowed their country to evolve for the better, both with healthcare, the environment and even the economy. It is a sad day for America and maybe even a sadder one for her close supporters.

    November 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  9. ron p

    anderson cooper, you are the lone bright spot on television news. I always watch you whenever you are on. You are a big breath of fresh air in a domain where the person is either too caffinated or too boring and i find that u do "keep it real". I identify with u a lot. Maybe it is because of my age (mid 30s) or maybe because you stand out in the crowd of cnn broadcasters.
    You did a great job yesterday during the elections, i would have tuned out if it was just wolf (nothing against u bro)....and was that really lasagna made from pot???


    November 3, 2010 at 11:50 am |