"Almost no one saw this one coming," said GOP pollster John McLaughlin. "Ann Marie was definitely below the radar screen of most political experts."
One person who never saw it coming was Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who had championed Mr. Maffei as the kind of new liberal Democrat America needs and the Northeast wants. "Absent a Republican wave of historic proportions, his seat now seems out of the GOP's reach," wrote Mr. Dionne back in September.
Ms. Buerkle, whose district includes Syracuse in upstate New York, will join more than 80 other freshman lawmakers. This class is dominated by men and women who, like Ms. Buerkle, have experience outside of law and politics. Her message throughout the campaign stuck a chord with many upstate New Yorkers: "Taxes and regulations are so high in New York that my kids have to leave here to find a job," she said. "That's why I decided to run."
Mr. Maffei got desperate in the final weeks of the campaign and used every trick in the liberal playbook to go after her. The lines of attack included global warming, stem cell research, Social Security privatization and her Sarah Palin connections. None of it worked. The Maffei campaign said yesterday that it may request a hand recount of the ballots, but the result is unlikely to change. Mr. Maffei thought he would win because the Republican Party had moved "so far to the right." In the end, Ms. Buerkle won because the Democrats had moved so far to the left.
The Republican wave of historic proportions washed the sludge and swamp water Demonrats right out of Congress, but their system of giving lawyers enough money so that 90% of the Demons in Congress are lawyers, unlike Mrs. Buerkle. So the crooked assholes will continue to infect and infest American politics until more Buerkles can roll back the tide of crime that Demons wear like a badge of pride.