"Mr. Gingrich has done great harm to his party and the cause of reform with his reckless criticism of Mr. Ryan, forfeiting any serious claim to be the GOP nominee," the WSJ editorialized earlier this week. "But equally as culpable are the self-styled conservative pundits who derided Republicans for dropping the reform mantle during the Bush years but now tremble that Mr. Ryan has gone too far." Above, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (AP Photo). Update: New Ryan video "The Path to Prosperity (Episode 2): Saving Medicare, Visualized."
The narrative's in. Democrat Kathy Hochul beat Republican Jane Corwin 47 to 43 percent — with 9 percent lost to faux "tea party candidate" Jack Davis — in New York's 26th District Congressional special election yesterday, and here's the spin, courtesy of The Associated Press:
The Democrat rode a wave of voter discontent over the national GOP's plan to change Medicare and overcame decades of GOP dominance here …
The special election that became a referendum on the health care plan for the nation's seniors may serve as a warning shot to further GOP efforts to cut popular entitlement programs.
"The three reasons a Democrat was elected to Congress in the district were Medicare, Medicare and Medicare," DCCC Chairman Steve Isarael, D-N.Y., said.
As we twittered in disgust this morning:
Gloating Dem cites Newt's air-headed "right-wing social engineering" meme as Democrat takes NY-26 special election.
Many observers see the NY-26 race as a precursor for election 2012. As such, it looks as if Democrats may be poised for victory in 2012, while House Republicans try to get distance from a politically toxic GOP agenda.
Among those "many observers," a salivating E.J. Dionne appears to have his JournoList talking points in order at the Washington Post:
Of course, all the usual caveats apply: It’s a long time to November 2012; this is just one special election; special elections offer voters relatively cost-free opportunities to cast protest ballots; and such elections aren’t always a good guide to the future. But some of them are. Scott Brown’s victory in January 2010 in Massachusetts was a harbinger of the big Republican gains that came in November. Brown ran against the Democratic health-care plan. Hochul ran against the Republican Medicare plan. Brown mobilized angry conservatives and restive moderates. Hochul mobilized angry progressives and restive moderates.
"Both national parties and several independent fundraising groups spent more than $2 million to influence the election," according to that AP report:
They included a new Democratic group, House Majority PAC, and American Crossroads, a Republican-leaning group founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove …
Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said Hochul's victory was a sign of a tough time for Republicans to come.
"What is clear is that this election is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks that 2012 will be just like 2010," he said. "It's going to be a tougher environment, Democrats will be more competitive, and we need to play at the top of our game."
Nobody said anything worthwhile was going to be easy. Blind paleontologist Geerat Vermeij's fundamental insight applies:
It's nasty, and things get nastier and nastier. Everyone is affected mostly by their enemies.
This is no time to go wobbly. Glad to see Paul Ryan out there front and center on Fox and Friends this very minute countering the spin:
We need truth. We need leadership. If we allow the demagoguery to work, America will have another recession, and the people who benefit from these programs are going to get hurt the worst … Once they understand the facts, they want this solution.
Update: It just occurred to us. Paul Ryan is following Sarah Palin's advice to Fight Like A Girl!
Update II: Professor Jacobson is on the same wavelength in "The Lessons of NY-26":
In the face of the Democratic scare-grandma machine, nice guys and gals will finish last.
Update III: Michelle Malkin Buzzworthy link!