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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Year in Review: Top 12 Political Surprises of 2010

From Politics Daily:

Massachusetts miracle: Republican state Sen. Scott Brown wins the U.S. Senate seat held for 47 years by liberal lion Ted Kennedy. State Attorney General Martha Coakley, Brown's lackluster Democratic opponent, is not the only victim of the year's first "shellacking." President Barack Obama and his party are stunned by the loss of their 60-vote super majority, and their ambitious health care agenda is thrown into doubt. Democrats eventually summon the will and parliamentary tactics to pass their health bill anyway, and Brown, his eye on a 2012 race in a liberal state, forges a path as a Senate moderate....Tectonic plate shift: In a preview of the tea party movement's clout and what's in store for the GOP establishment, Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, a three-term incumbent Republican, places third at a state party nominating convention. It is an abrupt and shocking end to his career. The first- and second-place finishers go on to a primary that is won by a tea party-driven candidate, Mike Lee. Bennett later describes conservative votes he took "looking down the barrel of the convention," and says his work on the Troubled Asset Relief Program was instrumental to his defeat.....Above and beyond foot-in-mouth: Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, calls Afghanistan a war of Obama's "choosing" and says there's no way to win a land war there. Republicans are astonished not just by Steele's factual inaccuracy (George W. Bush started the war in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks), but also by the way he casually undercuts his party's core position in support of the war. Coming after a series of other gaffes and missteps, it prompts (yet another round of) calls for his resignation. Steele does not heed them, but will likely lose his job in a party election in January....Tea party capstone: Christine O'Donnell defeats nine-term Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican Senate primary, capping a string of improbable tea party victories from Florida to Alaska. GOP voters overlook O'Donnell's history of financial problems, odd statements and lost elections in their zeal to oust the moderate Castle.
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