Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There's a new third rail in American politics tonight

Social Security used to be called the "third rail" of American politics, implying that any politician that tried to touch it would see their political career shocked to death.

While Social Security is still vitally important to most Americans, a Republican in upstate New York learned tonight that there is a second "third rail" - Medicare.

From Talking Points Memo -
Democrat Kathy Hochul Wins Upset In NY-26, Medicare Vote Key To Victory

Republicans are going to have plenty of questions about their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program tomorrow morning after Democrats romped to an improbable victory in a special election focused almost entirely on the issue.

Democrat Kathy Hochul lead 48-43 with over 83% of the votes counted and her victory looks to be a strong one -- the Associated Press called the race within an hour of the polls closing.
Look for Republican wags across the nation to blame the loss on the presence of a third candidate, a tea party type, in the race.

Just remind them that Hochul received approximately twice as large a percentage of the vote (48%) as the Democratic candidate in the same district received just six months ago (24%).

That's not the fault of the tea party type.

In spite of the loss, look for R office holders and seekers to double down on the "destroy Medicare" plan - they'd rather go down in flames than to admit they're wrong.

To those Republicans I say this (and I'm showing my age :) ) -

Keep on keepin' on - 2012 will be here soon.

1 comment:

tempe turley said...

So, I'm not so sure this is a good result. James Kwak makes some good points here:


when he quotes Brad DeLong:

“the political lesson of the past two years is now that you win elections by denouncing the other party’s plans to control Medicare spending in the long run — whether those plans are smart like the Affordable Care Act or profoundly stupid like the replacement of Medicare by RyanCare for the aged — sitting back, and waiting for the voters to reward you.”

This isn't good:

"And if they can create enough gridlock to make sure the Affordable Care Act fails, then five or ten years from now, when the debt projections are even worse, they will take another shot at privatizing Medicare. Remember, this wasn’t the first one: Newt Gingrich took a shot back in 1995. As long as the Republicans can use voters’ fears of 'big government' to block real reforms to Medicare, time is on their side. At some point, even if they have to wait twenty years, the fiscal imbalance will be so big that they will be able to eliminate Medicare."