Well, it was a good 12 months for the Democrats. They had their fun: their Nobel Prizes, their Equal Pay Acts, their Portuguese Water Dogs. But all good things must come to an end. And Tuesday night, the Obama Age ended not with a whimper, but with something significantly quieter than a whimper.

On Tuesday night, Republican governors swept into power with wins in both Virginia and New Jersey, states soon-to-be-former President Barack Obama won just a year ago. In Virginia, state Sen. Creigh Deeds got the Creigh beat out of him by Attorney General Bob McDonnell. McDonnell ran a smooth and positive campaign on issues like jobs, taxes and, well that was actually it: just jobs and taxes. Meanwhile his opponent, Deeds, brought up irrelevant points about whether gays and women deserve equal rights just like the rest of us.

Deeds pointed to McDonnell’s 1989 master’s thesis wherein the now governor-elect wrote, “government policy should favor married couples over ‘cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators.’ ” But this was just the guy’s 93-page thesis. As college students, we’ve all faced due dates and in a frenzied panic, and with three or four Red Bulls in us, we have likely written some pretty wacky stuff. Who hasn’t, as the witching hour approaches, scribbled down a page or two saying that working women and feminists were “detrimental” to the American family? Who cares if McDonnell spent literally years working on the thesis and gave it the meaningless title “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family”? These were just Bobby’s wild college years when he was 35 years old and attending televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University, a fundamentalist Christian safety school.

Before the election, McDonnell said, “Like everybody, my views on many issues have changed as I have gotten older.”

Of course, his views have changed. Except on gay rights. And abortion rights. And whether government policy should favor married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators. But beyond that, he’s a changed man.

Congrats, Virginia. You guys must be partying like it’s 1949, because your new governor certainly thinks it still is.

A bigger upset came in the solidly blue home state of Zach Braff: New Jersey. There, former United States Attorney and Tony Soprano look-a-like Chris Christie ousted incumbent governor and all-around unlikable person Jon Corzine by a five-point margin. This race was a dirty one, even by New Jersey standards. (Fun Fact: New Jersey is dirty.)

First, Corzine made thinly veiled attempts to point out Christie’s, let’s say, ample carriage. After running ads accusing Christie of “throwing his weight around” while U.S. attorney, a reporter asked Corzine, “Is Chris Christie fat?” to which the governor responded, “Am I bald?” (Fun Fact: Jon Corzine is very bald.)

Christie, using his own brand of dirty tricks, called Corzine a failed governor who broke numerous campaign promises including a promise to lower New Jersey’s property taxes, which are the highest in the nation. Christie also brought up the fact that Corzine spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money on his re-election campaign — money he made while helping to lay the foundation for the complete decimation of the world economy as co-CEO of Goldman Sachs in the mid-1990s. Sometimes politics is an ugly, dirty, fat, bald business, all right.

In his concession speech Corzine concluded, “There’s a bright future ahead for New Jersey if we stay focused on people’s lives, and I’m telling you, I’m going to do that for the rest of my life,” before adding: “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to finish reinforcing the floor boards at the Governor’s Mansion before Chris Christie moves in. Ohhhh!” In New Jersey, even the political winds have an unsafe level of toxic materials.

There was only one gloomy spot in what was otherwise a total rebuffing of Obama and his socialist agenda. In New York’s sleepy 23rd district, Democrat Bill Owens squared off against Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. Hoffman became Owens’ only opponent after Dede Scozzafava, the Republican nominee, dropped out after weeks of hammering from the True-Right-Wing-Nut wing of the Republican Party.

Scozzafava, who is pro-choice and supports equal rights for same-sex couples, infuriated real conservatives who looked to Hoffman to save the cause. Storied public servants like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who of course all understand the intricacies and cultural differences between, say, Wasilla and Watertown, New York, joined the fight against the GOP candidate and got behind Hoffman. What a win for the Tea Party movement and those who see some eerie similarities between Barack Obama and Chairman Mao.

Everyone assumed that Hoffman, the conservative, would walk to victory with a wide fundraising advantage and the fact the North Country of New York hasn’t voted for a Democrat for Congress in a while. The last Democratic congressional candidate to win upstate was almost 150 years ago during the Civil War. (Fun Fact: The previous sentence is true.)

But those pesky voters, upset that Hoffman didn’t actually live in the district, received most of his funding from out of state and has policy positions that makes Phyllis Schlafly look like Kim Kardashian, decided to vote for the Democrat. But the Conservatives made their message loud and clear: If the Republicans don’t nominate the exact same candidate with the exact same views in every, single race, they’ll have no choice but to let the Democrat win every time.

“But why,” I hear you cry, “does this threaten the Obama agenda?” Well, it’s simple: because everyone says it does. In politics, it doesn’t matter if it’s true, it just matters if you invent a compelling narrative and repeat it ad nauseum throughout the news cycle. It doesn’t matter that the president’s approval ratings in Virginia and New Jersey are exactly the percentage of the vote he received last November. It doesn’t matter that Virginia has voted for the opposite party for governor than it did for president for the last eight elections. It doesn’t matter that this grab bag of races has absolutely no bearing on and indicates nothing about what will happen in next year’s midterms or Obama’s reelection bid in 2012. All that matters is that these races are seen as a referendum on the president and his policies, no matter how untrue that may actually be.

Eric Cantor, Republican House Whip and runner-up for world’s greatest self-hating Jew — coming in a close second to Joe Lieberman — put it best Tuesday night. He deftly interpreted what America was saying in these off-off year, low turnout elections: “Enough with the spending. Enough with the waste. Enough with the government overreach. They’ve rejected the policies that have been what this administration in Washington has been about.”

It’s a perfect story. Just ask The New York Times, which ran this headline Wednesday: “Governor’s Races Seen as Jolts for Obama.” It’s good to know that whether it’s the Republican Party or The New York Times, politicos never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

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