Conservatives Scramble To Explain NY-26 Loss

May 25th, 2011 at 12:50 pm | 53 Comments |

| Print

Yesterday the GOP lost an important race in NY-26 when Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin.  Conservatives are already offering excuses minimizing the importance of this loss. Here are a few of the new ones hitting the blogosphere and talk radio:

Excuse #1: Blue collar voters are easily scared by Democrats. This argument was made by Henry Olsen from the National Review who argues that blue collar voters respond differently to GOP tactics and that “they are also susceptible to the age-old Democratic argument that the secret Republican agenda is to eviscerate middle-class entitlements to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. The truth is, if conservatives and Republicans are to move forward with entitlement reform (as they should), they need to address the real concerns of these pivotal voters.”

Excuse # 2: New York Republicans are way worse than the rest of the party. Erick Erickson was quick to subscribe to this belief. “The truth of the matter is that the Republican Party of New York sucks and has sucked for a while. It is especially terrible at special elections where the out of touch party leaders pick state legislators who everyone hates and runs them”. So, naturally, this loss means nothing.

Erickson later revised his stance and blamed the press, bringing us to excuse #3: media bias. “The press’s ready willingness to believe Democrat spin is yet again driven home this morning by the Republican loss in New York last night,” Erickson said. “Immediately, the press was adopting Democrat spin that this was all about Medicare.”

Excuse #4: Chris Lee’s Craigslist scandal made the GOP loss inevitable. John McCormack from the Weekly Standard writes that the fact that this loss was “precipitated by Republican congressman Chris Lee’s Craigslist sex scandal and ensuing resignation” means that the Democrat win is not “all that impressive or significant”.

Excuse #5: Tea Party candidate Jack Davis split the Republican vote, making a win impossible. W. James Antle III says at the American Spectator, “Unless the “Tea Party” independent is a total non-factor, reading too much into this race would be like exaggerating the impact of the Djou race in Hawaii last year”.

Excuse #6: You can’t read too much into one district. Philip Klein from The Washington Examiner cautioned that “at the end of the day this is just one data point in a single Congressional district out of 435. So it would be silly for Republicans to panic suddenly flee from the Ryan plan.” Don’t give up hope – there are still 434 more chances for the win.

On his show today Rush Limbaugh introduced excuse #7: voters are easily confused. “What happened here is the Republican tea party candidates got confused … and bought the notion that this was a genuine tea party candidate running in NY, ” he said. “The voters actually thought they were voting for something other than what ended up happening.”


Recent Posts by Tessa Berenson



53 Comments so far ↓

  • Watusie

    Thanks for the laugh.

  • Chris Balsz

    Guess we can skip the 2012 elections, since everything was decided by an off-year special election in one district in western New York.

    • Watusie

      OK, Balsz, we get it. You are bummed that the Republicans lost an election in a district they totally own, and are even more bummed by your inability to come up with an excuse that can be made with a straight face. So why bother with the pointless, ridiculous, vacuous comments?

      • Chris Balsz

        Why would I be bummed?

        Will this cover for losing the White House in 2012? Of course not.
        Will this make up for losing the Senate in 2012? Of course not.
        Will this make up for another Republican majority in the House in 2012? Of course not.

        Did you get anything out of NY-26 that will travel, that will save you in 2012? Of course not.

        Here’s more ridiculous vacuous commentary: come April next year, after the GOP primaries are pretty much over, you guys have to seriously defend 8.0% unemployment, <2% annual growth, military deployment in Iraq, a stalemate in Afghanistan, and a farce in Libya, creeping inflation and rising health insurance costs. By all means rave about the Christian Taliban ending Medicare for cash vouchers, and the promise of high-speed rail. Please do.

        • Watusie

          Resort to the impossible-to-fact-check-bombastic-future-assertion – a FF favorite.

          Tell me:
          1) which Republican candidate is capable of defeating Obama?
          2) you are aware of this chart – so what is going to happen to reverse the trend line to give the Republicans control of both the House and Senate?

        • Chris Balsz

          1) Of the declared contenders, probably anybody but Romney and Gingrich. They are already known for their failures. The rest have yet to make their mistakes.

          2) Barack Obama has to go out to the American people, and explain why they aren’t as excited and hopeful to vote for him a second time. And he’s not been very good at that.

          Also, the Republican presidential candidate who starts berating the Republicans in Congress for complacency, is going to pick up Republican enthusiasm.

          “Resort to the impossible-to-fact-check-bombastic-future-assertion – a FF favorite.”

          You consider 8.0% unemployment, <2% annual growth, military deployment in Iraq, a stalemate in Afghanistan, and a farce in Libya, creeping inflation and rising health insurance costs, to be some distant hypothetical scenario?
          Try coming up with a good explanation. And make it better than "Nobody dast blame this man".

          And send it to the White House, because they're going to need it.

    • PracticalGirl

      Chris:

      I know. It’s a lot like the right proclaiming that Scott Brown’s win in the special election in MA (he killed a Kennedy, no less) signaled a trend for Republicans and the Tea Party.

      Oh, wait…

  • Nanotek

    “Conservatives Scramble To Explain NY-26 Loss”

    Excuse # 8 ) the peasants are onto us!

  • Gus

    “The truth of the matter is that the Republican Party of New York sucks and has sucked for a while. It is especially terrible at special elections where the out of touch party leaders pick state legislators who everyone hates and runs them”
    Yes, everyone hates them and would never vote for them. How do they become state legislators again?

  • TerryF98

    Excuse #9.

    The voters have rumbled us!

  • LFC

    So if Ryan really was the cause of their loss in NY-26, does that mean they were hoisted upon their own re-tard? (Pronunciation borrowed from “The Hangover”.)

  • icowrich

    Hold on. Yes, this is a Republican district, so it’s particularly meaningful that a democrat won the day. There’s also no doubt that the flap over Medicare delivered some blue collar votes to Hochul. It is true, however, that the Tea Party candidate took 9% of the vote. Explanations 4 and 6 seem legit to me. There is at least a strong possibility that the republicans would have retained this seat (though only barely) had there not been a split in the votes.

    • Gramps

      Lets hope the Tea Party candidates…“keep on keepin’ on…!

    • Watusie

      A seat that would ordinarily be won by Republicans by about 12 points, was instead won by the Democrats by 6 points, despite being outspent. In a District which, since 1857, has sent 27 Republicans to Congress and just 4 Democrats – including last night.

      Lets embrace the fantasy that every single one of the Tea Party voters would have gone to the polls and voted for Corwin if he had not been on the ballot. OK, then Corwin wins 51-49.

      Here is the point: that is STILL a disastrous showing for the Republicans.

      • armstp

        Actually the polls showed that the Tea Party candidate, who previously ran as a Democrat, vote split 2-1 Republican to Democrate. Meaning that he picked up 1 Democrat vote for every 2 Republicans. So if you split his vote that way, the Democrat Hochul would have still won.

    • kuri3460

      Hold on. Yes, this is a Republican district, so it’s particularly meaningful that a democrat won the day. There’s also no doubt that the flap over Medicare delivered some blue collar votes to Hochul. It is true, however, that the Tea Party candidate took 9% of the vote. Explanations 4 and 6 seem legit to me. There is at least a strong possibility that the republicans would have retained this seat (though only barely) had there not been a split in the votes.

      The trouble is, that split on votes represents the tension that exists between the mainstream GOP and the Tea Party, a struggle of practicality versus ideology, and is going to be present in every 2012 primary, which is a real problem for the Republican Party. Granted, in most races you don’t have the Tea Party running a 3rd candidate, but the bigger point is that the mainstream of the party is looking for moderate, electable candidates, while the Tea Party wants people like Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle. The success of the GOP in 2012, both in the presidential and congressional races will depend on how (un)willing the Tea Party is to put electability ahead of ideology.

  • Gramps

    The “round mound of drug addicted sound”…was over the top today.

    While I was listening to his “wingnut entertainment niche” today… he actually bent over and grabbed his ankles for some six year old boy from the islands he likes to visit with his “old boyes” from the now defunct TV show “24”…

    “This is more fun than a human being should be allowed to have…”

    He actually, said…wait for it…wait for it…

    The Grand Olde Party candidate wasn’t conservative enough, with respect to Medicare…!

    Keep on keepin’ on… El Rushbo…
    Olde soldier sends… H&K’s you cute, round, cuddly, little pussy cat…!

    • Gramps

      Rush…I gotta admit.
      Yer entertaining; to “lefty moon bats” too…
      Hehehe…!

  • NRCC’s Pete Sessions shrugs off costly loss in upstate NY contest – Dallas Morning News (blog) | Conservatives for America

    [...] special election cursePoliticoVote on Debt Is Planned but Criticized as a StuntNew York TimesFrumForum -Las Vegas Review – Journal -Washington Post (blog)all 739 news [...]

  • velo

    “they are also susceptible to the age-old Democratic argument that the secret Republican agenda is to eviscerate middle-class entitlements to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.”

    I’m confused, it’s not a “secret … agenda.” Its an agenda the GOP has very publicly rallied around in the Ryan budget which both eviscerates Medicare/Medicaid benefits and cuts taxes on the rich. It’s not a very well kept secret.

  • Rob_654

    The Republican told the truth about what she and her Party want to do with Medicare – that was the problem.

  • Graychin

    “…the secret Republican agenda is to eviscerate middle-class entitlements to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. ”

    It’s no secret. It’s out there for all to see.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Here’s more ridiculous vacuous commentary: come April next year, after the GOP primaries are pretty much over, you guys have to seriously defend 8.0% unemployment,
    (you sound like you are hoping unemployment stays high)
    <2% annual growth, (do you even know that what your wrote means more than 2% growth?)
    military deployment in Iraq, (not true, most soldiers will be out by the end of this year per our SOFA agreement with Iraq)
    a stalemate in Afghanistan, (again, the US will be withdrawing soldiers next year as long as the Karzai government is in nominal charge and the Taliban are in the sticks we are ok)
    and a farce in Libya, (oh my God, have you even followed the news? The rebels are marching on Zliten even as I write this, Gadhafi is rapidly running out of gas, Misrata has lifted the seige, the towns in the Mountains are still in rebel hands…to call it a farce is a farce. It is a great success…you know what was a farce, idiotic Republicans invading a country looking for WMD's and getting us stuck there for years on end) How many US soldiers have died in Libya…NONE.
    Shame on you Balsz.)

    creeping inflation and rising health insurance costs. (I had no idea that Bush and the Republicans had lowered health insurance costs…oh wait, they have NO solutions besides going back to a worse condition)

    Your denialism is hilarious. The FP trajectory works in Obama's favor. If the economy continues to go along as it has been and considering how pathetic most of the Republican field is we will likely have 2008 redux.

    • Chris Balsz

      Given less than 2% growth, unemployment will remain high. There are millions of people who have given up looking for work. 8.0% is probably way too low.

      You should keep better track of events in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re not leaving any time soon, and we’re not shoving to make improvements.

      Libya is a farce. Ghadafi can surrender tomorrow and it will still have been a farce and the President is very vulnerable for his conduct of this Kinetic Military Action.

      Arguing that inflation and higher insurance costs are ok because the Bush team didn’t have better solutions won’t really help against Republicans other than Bush.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Balsz, not to bust your chops

    if one value is bigger than another, we can use a “greater than” sign
    example: 9 > 6
    Hence BIG > small but you had the symbol reversed but without saying: growth rate <2%
    which would have meant growth rate less than 2%. It was a problem of syntax…you need to state what would be more than on the other side of the less then.
    unless you are stating that defending a more than 2% growth rate is difficult.

    • Chris Balsz

      “>” is always “greater than” and “<" is always "less than". I think you're right about using them in an English sentence.

  • Hunter01

    “…the secret Republican agenda is to eviscerate middle-class entitlements to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. ”

    Evisceration is only a by-product because the economic argument is somewhat different than merely tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans believe that the middle class is an artifact of unionism and safety nets, both of which distort the equilibrium price of labor. Restore the balance between supply and demand, wages will collapse and the middle class will disappear.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I wonder how Republicans will disavow their vote next year while pretending it is a form of embracing it?

  • Watusie

    @Balsz
    “1) Of the declared contenders, probably anybody but Romney and Gingrich.”
    LOL. Pawlenty wouldn’t even carry his homestate; Cain, Johnson, Paul and Santorum are complete jokes. Remind me of who I have forgotten.

    The rest of your post is equally ridiculous. Considering where we were on Inaguration Day, Obama is already one of the most successful presidents of modern times. I can only assume you are banking on the invention of a mind wipe machine that somehow erases the memory of 2000-2008 as the key to the Republicans sweeping the board in 2012.

    • Saladdin

      Watusie,

      There are rumblings of Palin and Perry runs. Both would really help Mitt, as by comparison he’d appear sane. Unfortunately, he’s stuck in the GOP primary, which means that his most effective positions for the general (i.e. moderate NE republican) aren’t going to be on the table.

      Pawlenty wasn’t that popular in MN, and in fact lost independent voters. He won due to the fact that he was in a 3-way race.

      Personally, I can’t see why Palin or Perry would run, as neither really would do well in a general (isn’t Perry polling at 4% in his home state?) as they don’t appeal of moderates. Of course Mitt would, but he’d be reinforcing the flip flop meme.

      • Watusie

        Well, firstly, Balsz said declared contenders, hence the names on my list; secondly, polling shows that Perry and Palin are two more examples of candidates who wouldn’t even carry their home states, which says a hell of a lot about what’s going to happen to their nation-wide unfavorables the longer they stay on the stage.

  • cryptozoologist

    re:excuse #7
    “The voters actually thought they were voting for something other than what ended up happening.”
    like when they thought the gop was the party of fiscal restraint?

  • Chris Balsz

    “Considering where we were on Inaguration Day, Obama is already one of the most successful presidents of modern times. I can only assume you are banking on the invention of a mind wipe machine that somehow erases the memory of 2000-2008 as the key to the Republicans sweeping the board in 2012.”

    And you’re apparently counting on Bill Clinton sitting still for that one.
    By all means tell Americans who voted for Obama in 2008, and lost their jobs and homes since, that he’s been one hell of a success.

    • ottovbvs

      By all means tell Americans who voted for Obama in 2008, and lost their jobs and homes since, that he’s been one hell of a success.

      The housing bust started in the third quarter of 2006. By the summer of 2008 it had brought the entire financial to the edge of collapse. Your lies get more pathetic by the day. I’ll put it down to the fact you’re emotionally disturbed by the NY 26 result. Would you like me to mail you some valium?

  • josebrwn

    This makes me happy but Democrats need to be careful. Explaining away a surprise upset as a referendum on either a topic du jour or on an entire party is a facile observation. It makes for great sound bites and middling television, but it does nothing to explain what happened.

    Democrats today will be as foolish as Republicans were in Jan. 2010 when Scott Brown was elected to the Senate to view this as a referendum, or a mandate, on anything. That’s just the kind of hubris that brings about these kinds of upsets, as well as the bad decisions that bring them about (e.g. nomination of Democratic candidate Martha Coakley).

  • Watusie

    Balsz, your belief that the unemployment crisis caused by the Republicans is going to be the salvation of the Republicans is bonkers.

    4.4 million jobs were destroyed in Bush’s last year alone. How’s that for a terrifying trend to inherit? And yet, if the current rate of job creation continues, then the Obama Administration will have broken into positive territory by August 2012. Still not good enough for the long haul but pretty amazing to anyone who doesn’t choose to blank out the memory of 2008.

    And, BTW – the LEIs look very strong, so there is reason to doubt that hiring will continue – unless, that is, the Republicans go ahead with their insane plan to default on the debt.

    And lets talk about the jobs that weren’t lost. GM and Chrysler would have been liquidated if the Republicans had had their way – and don’t think the workers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania don’t know it. Not just the employees of those companies, but also the thousands of small companies that supply them. If you are going to take back the WH, you’ve got turn at least one of those states – how are you going to do it?

  • Diomedes

    “By all means tell Americans who voted for Obama in 2008, and lost their jobs and homes since, that he’s been one hell of a success.”

    Actually, I think Obama will have an excellent platform to utilize in the next election if the economy continues to improve more slowly.

    Bear in mind: our economic growth was doing well UNTIL the Republicans took over the house. Then they began their Draconian budget slice and dice, killing copious state jobs in the process. Now, after months in office, the only legislation they are pushing through with huge zeal are adjustments to state abortion laws. No substansive solutions regardint the economy have been put forth. Also, companies emerging from TARP are performing well and all that money is being repaid, with interest. So from that perspective, the argument cannot be made any longer that it was a failed idea. Romney is most vulnerable there since he has been caught on record rallying against the automotive bailouts.

    Obama is going to be able to easily demonstrate that economic growth was stymied by the actions of the Republican house. He will have the charts to prove it. Along with the idiotic Ryan plan which is about as feasible right now as a Warp Drive, there will be plenty of cannon fodder to use.

    The attempted gutting of Medicare was a serious tactical error on the part of the Repubs. They know that now but are unsure how to move forward and still save face.

  • Chris Balsz

    Your arguments amount to: ‘the House of Representatives has more immediate economic influence than the White House’. This is phony. It might still help President Obama, despite being phony, if he could hold more ‘summits’ where he faces down the GOP House. He won’t. He will be arguing with Republicans who want to be President, who will respond with arguments about being better Presidents than Barack Obama.

    • Watusie

      What are the Republican arguments for being a better President? The last one was an unmitigated disaster. What is the next one going to do that will be better? They can’t promise to end the recession or stop the job losses or get Osama Bin Laden – Obama’s already done all those. So, they can say they’ll grow the economy faster or add even more jobs…but how? Their answer, of course, will be tax cuts. Which is now well proven to be BS. And, yeah, I guess they can promise to show us the photo of OBL’s corpse, but I don’t think that will be much of a vote getter.

      • ottovbvs

        Balsz like all these weenies is suffering from chronic Obama Derangement Syndrome. You only need to contrast the quiet competence of the Obama admin with the endless catalog of crises, incompetence, scandal, mismanagement and disasters that were the Bush admin to see the difference. Faced with prima facie evidence he is reduced to lies and bluster.

        • Chris Balsz

          Excellent. Keep playing to the 40% who think he’s doing a heckuva job.

        • ottovbvs

          Excellent. Keep playing to the 40% who think he’s doing a heckuva job.

          Actually his appro is in the 50′s and his likeability in the 70′s. You can’t even lie straight.

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx

          This is basically why I regard guys like you with total contempt. Your level of argument would disgrace a class of 8th graders. There isn’t even the pretence of a good faith effort to discuss what actually happened in NYS which is that the GOP got its ass handed to it in a rock solid Republican district because there’s no way the public is going to buy into Ryan’s fraudulent budget that scrapped Medicare to fund cutting the top tax rate from 35% to 25%. You’d think anyone with an iota of intelligence who is a Republican die hard would be interested in evaluating what this means electorally. I would. But no, it’s all delusions, lies, bluster which encapsulates perfectly what the GOP has become and why people like myself have jumped ship.

        • Watusie

          Yep, Balsz, you really are a completely reality-challenged weasel. Let’s dare to compare Obama’s approval rating with that of the sainted Ronaldus Maximus at this point in his first term, shall we?

          Were you running around saying Reagan was definately going to be a one-term president?

          No, I didn’t think so.

        • Gramps

          Bubba Clinton raised taxes and the economy boomed, despite Newt’s despicable, “Contract on America”…

          In fact Dubyah Bush began his first disastrous term in office with an unheard of budget surplus…thanks to Bubba…!
          It didn’t take long… for “Little Bush” to run our economy, completely into the damn ditch…!

          “Dubyah”... left President Obama, with two unfinished wars, and the largest national deficit and unemployment figures, in our nation’s history…

          Say what, Chris…?

  • Houndentenor

    I wonder what it’s like to live in a country where elections are about issues and solutions and not about personalities and polling 18 months out and other horse-race nonsense.

  • Jim in DE

    The Grand Olde Party candidate wasn’t conservative enough, with respect to Medicare…!

    Actually, he’s probably right on this point. As Pat Buchanan said the other morning, “America is a conservative nation, but it’s conservative with a small “c,” not a big one.” Translation — don’t expect to mess with Medicare and live to tell the tale.

    • Gramps

      Olde Patrick, can smell the smoke from their torches and see the glint of fire reflecting from the tines of their pitchforks as they rally…to advance…

      Ho ho, he he, ha ha ha hah…!
      Good one Jimbo…

  • Nanotek

    “Here is the point: that is STILL a disastrous showing for the Republicans.”

    Watusie … exactly … and they know it … ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee GOP

  • SteveT

    When’s the NV special election?

  • The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Scrambing to Oversimplify

    [...] was amused by this item over at Frum Forum. Various writers, including me, are described as scrambling for "excuses" to [...]

  • John Frodo

    It was a gerrymandered district, huge loss, huge victory for the average American.