Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TEA STAINED. Jack Davis underperformed but it looks like Kathy Hochul has pulled it out in NY-26 against Jane Corwin. I haven't followed this race as closely as I did the Scozzafava-Hoffman-Owens NY-23 election in 2009, but on balance I'd say sending John Boehner out there to remind folks that the GOP wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program was probably a bad idea. (So was focusing on beating up Davis as a fake Tea Party candidate -- they seem to have pulled him back from the 12 percent he had in late polls to about 9 percent, but that didn't do the trick.)

The rapid response team would have us think otherwise. "Republicans suck in New York. Period. End of Story," growls Erick Erickson. "...it will be a stretch to say that it means that the people of suburban Buffalo are telling the country to reject the GOP’s budget plans," assures Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. "The complete irrelevance of NY-26," insists Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner. Etc.

Really? The Chris Lee scandal that led to the special election can't have been helpful. But since the Republicans first gained this seat in 1857, they've held the 26th for all but 17 years. In 2010 Lee got 73.6 percent of the vote. With the flawed vessel removed, you'll think they could have held onto such an advantage.

The Tea Party dream of bathtub-drown'd gummint was a boon to the GOP in 2010, when they did pretty well in western New York. But the Ryan plan and its fallout suggests that, now that the loons the movement brought to Washington are threatening to actually do something about it, it's costing them in a constituency they shouldn't have to worry about: Registered Republicans.

Think they'll get the message?

UPDATE. A beautiful silver lining from DrewM at Ace O'Spades:
On the upside, the GOP got a look at the Democrats playbook on attacking the Ryan plan. We should be better prepared moving forward. Yeah, we shouldn't have been surprised this time but some lessons have to be learned anew.
He's got a point: There is no evidence that Corwin called her opponent a socialist.

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