N.B: The Politicker is reaching out to some of the wiser heads of New York politics to get their take on what was learned on election night:
“Formal organizations such as the Tea Party Express made a balance-of-force difference in particular districts such as the defeat of incumbent Scott Murphy in NY-20. But in more cases than not, we’re labeling powerful but indistinct and often incoherent discontent with a “party” label post-facto.
“‘Tea Party’ may come to mean something now that Michelle Bachman (or a competitor, this remains to be seen) is assembling a House Tea Party Caucus. Until that time, when we have elected officials putting their careers on the line with votes that can be predicted from an explicit political platform or philosophy of government, I’m unwilling to award this election to the tea party.
“Even in this season of the voters’ greatest discontent, incumbency and familiarity remain powerful assets in politics. That they did so in New York to a greater degree than in the rest of the U.S. is a testament both to the strength of the state Democratic Party here and the fecklessness of the state G.O.P.
“Will President Obama be able to use the House Republicans as a foil, or will they roll him as the obstacle to economic recovery? Of course, we might have a deeper, jobs-producing recovery; if so, who gets the credit from voters next cycle? I suppose it’s also possible that the administration and the Congress will collaborate, but that seems the least likely outcome of all.
David Birdsell is the Dean of the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College of CUNY.