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. Immediately, the press was adopting Democrat spin that this was all about medicare. The press has a history of doing this.In April of 2009, the GOP lost a special election in New York with Jim Tedisco as the nominee. Carl Huse, in the New York Times, noted,
The ultimate reality check for Congressional Republicans had to come Friday, when Scott Murphy, a Democrat, was declared the winner over James N. Tedisco, a Republican, in a House race in upstate New York.Though the seat was vacated by Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a Democrat, so she could accept a Senate appointment, Republicans had a 70,000-voter registration advantage. More important, the party out of power often wins these sorts of contests in the aftermath of national elections as voters experience buyer’s remorse. Republicans had the more experienced candidate and went at the contest hard, only to come up short. It is likely to haunt the party and potentially depress candidate recruitment and fund-raising.
Brad Woodhouse at the DNC spun reporters with a tale going like this: “The outcome of last month s Special Election in New York s 20th Congressional District is further proof that the public supports President Obama, his agenda… and the overall direction he is leading the country. The outcome also goes to show that the Republican Party has no new ideas, is tied to the failed policies of the past and that it is in disarray and faces an uphill battle in local and state elections in 2009 and 2010.”Then there was the NY-23 race with Dede Scozzafava and Doug Hoffman. Adam Nagourney wrote in the International Herald Tribune on November 3, 2009,
New York’s 23rd congressional district. This race does appear to have clear national implications. The contest turned into a fight between Mr. Owens, the Democrat, and Douglas L. Hoffman, a conservative, after Ms. Scozzafava quit on Saturday. Conservatives across the country had criticized her moderate views on issues like abortion, gay rights and some fiscal policies.If Mr. Hoffman wins, it will embolden conservatives who have argued that it is a mistake for Republicans to think that the only way to regain power is to run more moderate candidates.Yet, all of this has given Democrats a glimmer of hope. The divide between moderate and conservative Republicans, said Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, ”is going to be around for a while.”
In fact, throughout 2009 and into 2010, the media embraced the Democrats’ wholesale message that the GOP was too divided to win and the public held against the GOP that it was “the Party of No.”For example, on September 13, 2009, Chuck Todd on Meet the Press declared, that the GOP knows “that it’s not good politics just to be the party of no. You can’t do that.”And yet it worked.Now the media is in a full tizzy that the GOP is going to get beat down on Medicare because of a special election in New York last night. Just like they did with Tedisco. Just like they did with NY-23.As I noted last night, the race last night had far more to do with New York than with Paul Ryan. To make broad assertions about medicare is silly and disingenuous.