It’s fascinating to watch Democrats and their liberal-media friends as they treat Republicans like a bunch of kids at summer camp, keeping them up at night with scary stories.
There’s Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the camp counselor, carefully lowering his voice to a whisper, then jumping up and yelling, “Mediscare! Run for your life!” Just as the terrified Republican kids come tearing out of the tent, spooky-looking liberal-media goblins jump out from the bushes screaming, “Voter backlash! You’re all going to die!” Political pandemonium ensues.
Works every time. Just like Lucy, Charlie Brown and that darn football.
So we’re supposed to believe the special-election results in New York’s 26th Congressional District were a bellwether of a 2012 Republican disaster because Democrat Kathy Hochul won by making Medicare an issue. Of course Democrats would say Medicare was the main issue, especially after one of the party’s ideological advocacy group allies gained national attention with a TV spot showing a Rep. Paul Ryan look-alike shoving Granny over a cliff.
Predictably, the morning after the election, The New York Times pronounced the results “a referendum on House Republicans’ efforts to reform Medicare.” It was as if defeated Republican candidate Jane Corwin had begun every campaign speech by saying, “I can’t wait to get to Washington to help John Boehner and Paul Ryan throw all those old people off of Medicare!”
And what should Republicans now be talking about instead of Medicare reform, according to their friends on the Democratic side of the aisle and in the liberal media? Jobs and the economy. And right on cue, those Republicans tearing away from Schumer’s tent whip out a “new” job-creation plan that looks very much like the one they’ve been pushing all year. Apparently, they think that will make their tormentors stop jumping out of the bushes.
Here’s why such advice on campaign strategy is suspect: A quick check of House Speaker John Boehner’s website finds that since April 1 he has issued 64 news releases discussing jobs and the economy, compared to 22 on Medicare reform. By contrast, during the same period, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democrats’ chief national campaign voice on New York’s 26th district, issued 16 news releases on ending Medicare, only two on jobs and the economy.
In other words, Boehner talked about creating jobs and growing the economy three times for every one time he discussed Medicare. Corwin gave one speech with a lukewarm endorsement of the Republican Medicare reform proposal.
Put another way, maybe the Republicans lost because they didn’t talk enough about Medicare reform. They ought to at least ask their liberal friends on Capitol Hill and in the Times’ newsroom why they should stop talking about something they’ve barely mentioned for the past two months.