Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shocker in New York... Upset in Nevada?

Last night, DC pundits were shocked by what they thought was impossible.

Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in New York’s special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY). Despite the $2.36 million spent by groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to keep the district red and the $60 per vote Corwin spent herself, Hochul secured a clear victory in a traditionally Republican district [...]

Viewed as a referendum on House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare, Hochul’s victory exemplifies the American public’s overwhelming disgust with the GOP push to force seniors to bear the burden of increasing health costs. Expecting a loss, several Republicans — including Corwin herself — tried to assert the election had nothing to do with Ryan’s Medicare plan. But DCCC chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) outlined the three reasons that Corwin lost the election: “[I]n alphabetical order, Medicare, Medicare and Medicare.”

Apparently, Paul Ryan's disgusting "roadmap" to destroy the American middle class proved to be quite the political stink bomb. Even Republicans admitted early on that this special election would be a referendum on their plan to unravel the American social safety net, which starts by ending Medicare. And now, Democrats are poised to use this NY-26 election as a launch pad to retake Congress.

"We can ensure we do not decimate Medicare," Hochul said. "We will keep the promises made to our seniors who have spent their lives paying into Medicare, so they can count on health care when they need it most."

If Democrats have their way, there will be a lot more speeches along those lines come November 2012. The chairs of both legislative election committees made clear on Tuesday that they believe they have found a winning formula they intend to use elsewhere.

"The election last night showed that Democrats have the keys to drive the budget debate and play offense in 2012," Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement. "The implications of this election extend to Senate races in battleground states and red states across the country. The results provide clear evidence that Democratic senators and senate candidates will be able to play offense across the country by remaining focused on the Republican effort to end Medicare and force seniors to pay thousands more for health care costs."

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that the party had "served notice to the Republicans" that the Medicare issue could hurt them.

"Even in one of the most Republican districts, seniors and independent voters rejected the Republican plan to end Medicare," he said. "The American people will continue to hold House Republicans accountable for their plan to end Medicare from now until election day 2012."

For Rob Zerban, a Democrat running against GOP budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in 2012, the Hochul race was an instructive boost to his campaign hopes.

"I just am overwhelmed at the results from this election. It's a harbinger of things to come," he told TPM over the phone on Tuesday night. "I'm certainly going to make this a key issue in the 1st Congressional District in Wisconsin. ... Democrats are going to focus on how we can actualy shore up, strengthen, and keep Medicare solvent, and this will be a clear distinction in the 2012 cycle."

So can this be another factor that shakes up the already zany special election in Nevada's own 2nd Congressional District? The legal drama over how the election itself will be conducted ("Ballot Royale?" Or behind closed doors?) is proving to be a giant hot mess with none other than Dean Heller at the center of it. For quite some time, the focal point of the NV-02 special has been the (at times hilarious) cast of characters running. But now, is there a chance this will change and... GASP! ... the election may actually be decided on policy?

Don't laugh just yet. Notice these numbers (via DB).

Republicans falsely claim Nevada seniors will not be impacted by the GOP’s plan, but starting next year, more than 26,700 Nevada seniors will be forced to pay $15 million more in prescription drug costs [if the Ryan Budget is passed]. The Republican budget also slashes billions in health care through Medicaid, putting seniors at risk.


The Republican plan to end Medicare will increase out-of-pocket health care costs for a typical 65 year-old Nevada senior by $5,862 in 2022 – more than double the cost under current law.

The Republican plan could force at least 7,800 Nevada seniors to pay over $828,000 more for annual wellness visits in 2012.

In Nevada, more than 26,700 seniors would pay $15 million more for prescription drugs in 2012 alone under the Republican plan.

By turning Medicaid into a block grant program, the Republican plan could cost Nevada at least 9,600 private-sector jobs over the next five years.

In Nevada, the Republican plan could cut $1.7 billion in federal health care funding for seniors and the disabled through Medicaid, including life-saving nursing home care.”

I guess that's why Mark Amodei is already running scared and refusing to specifically endorse the Ryan Plan. However, Kirk Lippold has enthusiastically endorsed Ryan's plan. And in the not-all-that-distant past, all three Republican men have embraced it.

Amodei says he likes the "honesty" of the deep spending cuts found in the 2012 budget proposal from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and House Budget Committee chairman, whose plan clashes with President Barack Obama's competing proposal. Brower likes the Ryan proposal, too, and says its plan to reduce corporate taxes while keeping President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich "could spur the economic activity we so desperately need." Lippold, a retired Navy commander, says Ryan's plan is a good blueprint that "sets forth some aggressive goals."

Meanwhile, I think we already know what Sharron Angle thinks about the Ryan Plan...

I think we know what's next. But funny enough, it's not just the usual Sharrontology. In fact, all the above mentioned Republicans have in some way endorsed Ryan's plan to destroy Medicare and undermine the middle class. Even if they try to run away and distance themselves from this, they will just look as silly as Jane Corwin did in New York's 26th Congressional District.

So maybe Mr. Gleaner will get his wish come true after all? Maybe the special election in Nevada's 2nd will be decided on the issues (not just the personalities) after all?

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