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Be careful what you wish for, senator

PRESIDENT Obama's re-election has a silver lining for Republicans, because the party in power usually has trouble in the mid-term election two years later.

In 2008, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., described Obama as "the president I've waited for all my life."

A poll earlier this year by The West Virginia Poll had Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., leading Rockefeller 48 percent to 44 percent, which was within the margin of error.

Would it not be poetic justice if the president he waited for all his life cost Rockefeller his job?

Some other thoughts about this year's election:

  • If Republicans think Rockefeller will go quietly into that last goodnight, they are nuts. He has sought statewide office nine times, winning eight times. He knows the drill.
  • Having Rockefeller at the top of the ticket in 2014 - instead of Obama - will bolster Democrats. That may wipe out the gains Republicans made in the Legislature this year. Republicans must realize theirs is still an uphill battle.
  • Delegates Bonnie Brown and Bobbie Hatfield, both D-Kanawha, might have been re-elected if Democrats had listened to Republicans, who wanted single-member districts. Instead, Brown and Hatfield lost in a four-member district that elected three Republicans.
  • Republicans came within five seats of a majority in the House. Will enough Democrats cross the aisle to make House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, speaker? Stay tuned.
  • Considering Democrats have lost one-quarter of their seats in the House in his six years as speaker, Republicans might prefer keeping liberal Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, as speaker.
  • Republicans must beware of the wounded bear. In their eight-decade reign in the Legislature, Democrats learned a thing or two about survival.
  • Maryland's legalization of casinos may be a bigger to-do than Republican gains in the House. Gambling provides about 10 percent of state revenues. Anyone want to raise taxes to make up the difference? Didn't think so.
  • With a tax on revenues of 43 percent, casinos are the most heavily taxed industry in the state. This was part of the deal to open up the state to casinos.
  • Look for casinos to seek tax relief as neighboring states bite into their market share.
  • What went wrong for Republicans nationally? A slight improvement in the economy and the radioactivity of Obamacare wore off.
  • What went wrong for Democrats nationally? Republicans did most of the redistricting for the U.S. House following the 2010 "shellacking" of Democrats.
  • Some 500 retired admirals and generals publicly supported Mitt Romney. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin endorsed Obama's re-election. Scary.
  • President Bush beat John Kerry 62 million to 59 million in 2004. Obama beat Romney 62 million to 59 million.
  • Voters kept the U.S. House Republican and the Senate Democratic. Clearly the message from voters is they like the spending and the deficits; that way they get everything they want without having to pay for it.
  • Finally, a well-hyped year has become a sad season for West Virginia University football fans that has the Mountaineers scrambling for a bowl, any bowl.

    There is a lesson in that for Republicans in West Virginia.

    Surber may be reached at


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