Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Lessons Of NY-26

Kathy Hochul, the Democrat, won last night in this special election over Republican Jane Corwin and Tea Party spoiler Jack Davis.

On Tuesday, she captured 47 percent of the vote to Ms. Corwin’s 43 percent, according to unofficial results. A Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, had 9 percent.

Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare.

“I have almost always voted the party line,” said Gloria Bolender, a Republican from Clarence who is caring for her 80-year-old mother. “This is the second time in my life I’ve voted against my party.”

Pat Gillick, a Republican from East Amherst, who also cast a ballot for Ms. Hochul, said, “The privatization of Medicare scares me.”

For the Democrat to get 47% in a district like NY-26 is amazing.  Without Davis around, I think this would have been a recount-worthy vote, because someone would have won 50-49.  Hochul pounded the Medicare message and won, despite being outspent 2-1 by the Republicans.  The Republicans spent a lot of money trashing Davis, but it wasn't enough...not with the GOP plan to privatize Medicare.

The lesson?  Hey Democrats:  defend Medicare and you'll win.

TBogg notes that Jonah Goldberg yesterday morning called on Paul Ryan to run for President on the "strength" of being the author of the GOP's Medicare plan.  Yep, the plan is so wonderful it cost the Republicans a district they had held for 43 years.  By all means, let Paul Ryan run for President.

On the other hand Steve M. sees Republicans changing the subject to Israel, as I predicted they would earlier this week.

Meanwhile, I think Republicans' equivalent to the Ryan budget is the Obama-Netanyahu dust-up, and I worry that, while we may not still be able to get an electoral benefit from the Ryan vote in the House eighteen months from now, Republicans will have the skills to use their distortion of Obama's "1967 borders" remark to peel off a few normally Democratic pro-Israel Jewish voters in key states, along with swing voters who can be terrified on foreign policy and "security." (I'm linking the two because last night, when I was waiting for results from NY-26, I switched over from MSNBC to Fox News and there, on Hannity, was Netanyahu himself. At least this week, he's their hero, their Paul Ryan.)

Count on this.  Anything to get the news cycle off Medicare, Paul Ryan, and the loss in NY-26.  Expect this and the debt ceiling to continue to play a huge role in the Republican message of "we must do what we want or die."  Doug J at Balloon Juice argues that...gasp...the GOP might have learned something.

Republicans are lucky they lost the NY-26 special election tonight, because now they’ll back up off of it and sit their cup down. Make no mistake, though, the decision to vote the Ryan plan through the House was the stupidest political decision of our generation. Stupid because it was pointless—it would never become law—and stupid because it probably costs Republicans 10+ seats in the House. You don’t give up ten seats to accomplish nothing.

I disagree.  If the GOP response to the Joplin tornado is any indication, they'll exponentially keep upping the bet, doubling down again and again, until any American who takes government help for anything -- Social Security, Medicare, disaster relief, schools, libraries, anything at all, mind you -- becomes the new Enemy of the People.  We have to destroy the social safety net in order to save it for those who really need it...but you and your family wouldn't be one of "them" would they?  They will declare taxation is theft, government services are slavery, and you're not one of "those" people, are you?

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