Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Republicans win NY-9

Filling the void left by Anthony Weiner, Republican Bob Turner has defeated Democrat David Weprin in the special election in New York's 9th Congressional District.

As I write, Turner is up 53-47 with about two-thirds of precincts reporting.

NY-9 is a heavily Democratic district, including parts of both Brooklyn and Queens, and Republicans will no doubt make much of this win.

But it's actually more complicated than that.

NY-9 is a Democratic district but also somewhat socially conservative given the large Catholic and Jewish presence. Yes, Weiner was able to win it fairly easily, and the Democrats should have been able to hold it post-Weiner, but Israel was a key issue during the campaign and Republicans were able to turn even sympathetic Democrats against Weprin by attacking President Obama's Israel policies, generally centrist policies that are not nearly hardline enough for many of Israel's hardcore supporters (like Ed Koch, though Joe Lieberman, a hardcore pro-Israel "Democrat," actually endorsed Weprin), including in this generally Democratic part of the world.

So is that all there was to it? No. Same-sex marriage was also an issue, with socially conservative tendencies in the district boosting Turner.

And while now is hardly a good time for Obama and the Democrats, let's not forget that Republicans actually have worse approval ratings. So while Republicans will no doubt find a great deal of pro-Republican meaning in this result, I'm not so sure it was any sort of referendum with national implications. Certainly not the way the Democratic victory in heavily Republican NY-26 was -- a reminder that Democrats, if they don't back down, can win on fiscal/economic issues by exposing Republicans as anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare extremists.

And let's not forget, too, that this special election wouldn't have happened had Anthony Weiner not been such an irresponsible idiot (or whatever you want to call him). Maybe he had to go, maybe not, but he did what he did and he put himself in a largely indefensible position politically (Republican hypocrisy notwithstanding). And so to a great extent it's his fault that this seat has gone Republican. It should, after all, still be his.


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  • Joe Lieberman was ousted by the Democrat Party in CT. He's an Independent. The only thing that has ever been good about Joe Lieberman's politics is his decent understanding of the danger we face from Islam & the need to have a strong national defense because of it.

    By Anonymous FactsRule, at 3:50 AM  

  • I was premature in commenting before finishing your article. Your age old, false, malicious slander that Republicans are anti-Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid has been exposed a lot lately. A growing number of Americans who until lately have been ignorant of the issue with these major bankrupt programs now realize that it's the Republicans who've put forth plans to SAVE these programs. It is Democrats who choose instead to politicize it exactly as you do & watch it disappear for everybody in the future. Last year we had to rescue Social security by giving it 60 billion dollars it did not have. All money in the Social Sec. Trust was spent for many decades on the general fund. There will soon be far more recipients than payroll workers, the only source for Social Security money. Medicare & Medicaid gave over 100 billion to crooks last year! How very cruel are all of those who lie to the people about the reality of these programs & how they cannot continue much longer without drastic reform. They'll soon make up a major majority of all federal spending of our tax money.

    By Anonymous FactsRule, at 4:03 AM  

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