On May 17, Stacy McCain “warned that a Democrat victory” in NY-36 would “be headlined as evidence that the Paul Ryan budget plan is a political liability for Republicans.” He finds those “those prophecies fulfilled in this morning’s headlines at Memeorandum“:
The problem, simply put, was that the Republican candidate Jane Corwin was unprepared for the Democrats’ demagogic attack on the Ryan budget, with the president’s party billing the plan’s cost-saving Medicare reforms as essentially ending Medicare. As John Fund put it in WSJ.com’s Political Diary (available by subscription) this morning:
Before the polls closed yesterday in the Buffalo suburbs that make up the district, Ms. Corwin allowed that she should have addressed the Medicare issue “earlier and differently.” “I have to admit that when [Ms. Hochul] started making these comments, I thought these are so outrageous that probably no one would ever believe it . . .. Apparently some people did.”
It’s may be “too late for Jane Corwin,” Tina Korbe writes, “but it’s not too late for Republicans planning to run in 2012“:
They still have time to master the Medicare message — and they’d better, if they want to win. But, more importantly, conservative candidates need to articulate the facts clearly precisely because they’re facts. Medicare can’t sustain itself much longer unless Congress takes action and, so far, the House-passed budget is the only Congressional proposal to seriously tackle entitlement reform.
For the moment, the Democrats have found an effective political strategy, attack the Republicans for wanting to throw Granny off the cliff. But, behind their attacks lies, well, nothing. They don’t have a plan to reform Medicare and prevent the Great Society initiative from gobbling up an ever greater share of an already severely unbalanced federal budget. To keep their House majority and win back the White House, the GOP need to fight back and call the Democrats out.
Republicans, as Jim Geraghty puts it, “will need to find a way to effectively counter” Democratic attack ads “or they’ll lose a lot of seats in 2012.”
In this special election, Republicans have learned once again that the Democrats intend to play gutter politics to defeat the GOP. The only problem is that they have no plan for governing should this strategy prove effective. Democrats, Conn Carroll writes, “have always said, and will continue to say“:
. . . that Republicans literally want to throw granny off a cliff. Republicans cannot keep playing defense on Medicare and hope voters will see the light. They need to aggressively go negative on the Democrats failure to produce a viable Medicare plan. They need to explain how this well hurt seniors and that the pain is coming a lot sooner than they think.
This special election has put Republicans on notice that they need do a better job of explaining the reasoning behind their reforms, then, as has the junior Senator from the Sooner State, insist that Democrats put their budget plan on the table. The last time a prominent Democrat did that, he encountered harsh reactions across the political spectrum. No wonder his party chooses to attack the GOP budget rather than defend his.
And congressional Democrats still haven’t presented their budget. Their strategy is clear, put the focus on the GOP plan without offering one of their own.
That’s not the way to lead a nation. And it’s hardly the new kind of politics about which we once heard tell.
RELATED: In her review of the loss in NY-26, Michelle Malkins reports that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul “Ryan is not running from the fundamental battle over entitlements and free-market reform. While Democrats shriek and moan about seniors rolling off cliffs, Ryan’s out with a sober, serious, adult conversation on the long-term structural changes needed to keep the system solvent”. Read the whole thing.