Thursday, May 26, 2011

The aftermath of NY-26, looking ahead to 2012

A few quick hits as we all try to sort out the meaning of yesterday's Democratic victory in New York's heavily Republican 26th Congressional District:

Politico: "Have Democrats cracked the code for 2012?"

Nate Silver, NYT/538: "Six Months After Midterm Disaster, Hopeful Signs for Democrats."

Steve Benen sums it up: "What we saw in Buffalo was a test -- how is the public responding to the GOP's far-right agenda in Congress? It's a test Republicans failed."

Here's what I wrote last night, just after the race was called for Hochul:

Sure, a number of factors went into Hochul's victory, but, again, a lot of it had to do with the Ryan plan and, more broadly, the Republicans right-wing agenda. That's what Republicans were touting. That's what they were making so public. That's what they wanted to define them. Well, it failed -- once people learned about it, they recoiled. And in this heavily Republican district in Western New York, a Democrat, helped a little bit but not much by a Tea Party challenger taking votes away from the Republican, has swept to victory.

There's no guarantee, of course, that this is how things will play out in November 2012, and a whole lot can change between now and then, but that doesn't mean this wasn't a hugely significant and revealing result that may just be an indicator of things to come.


And, of course, the Senate yesterday rejected Paul Ryan's budget, which is now Republican orthodoxy.

The vote was 57-40 against, with five Republicans (Brown, Collins, Snowe, and Murkowski, who oppose it, and Paul, who thinks it doesn't go far enough) siding with the Democratic majority. 

What this means is that Republicans voted 41 to 4 to destroy Medicare. As TPM's Brian Beutler observes:

[T]he roll call illustrates that Medicare privatization -- along with deep cuts to Medicaid and other social services -- remains the consensus position of the GOP despite the growing political backlash against them.

And they'll be running on this in 2012 (while attacking the Democrats from the left and arguing that they're the ones who will protect Medicare from Democratic cuts, as utterly dishonest as this would be). 

Good times ahead.

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