Morning Examiner: What can we learn from NY-26? 

NY-26: You can stop reading political news for the next 18 months, the Democrats have already guaranteed their White House victory and House takeover. At least that is what the liberal media wants you to believe. The top Politico headline reads: “Democrats crack 2012 code” and goes on to report: “Democrats now appear to have found a political weapon that’s capable of evening out the fight: Medicare.” As if Democrats just started attacking Republicans over Medicare yesterday.

The reality is a bit different. Special elections like NY-26 are not good indicators of the political environment. In 2009, Democrats won specials in NY-23 and NY-20 and in 2010 they won the PA-12 special election. Sounds like a big Democratic wave year in 2010 right? Wrong.

That does not mean the GOP can’t learn anything from NY-26. As AEI’s Henry Olsen notes at The Corner, GOP candidate Jane Corwin underperformed among blue-collar voters. But instead of abandoning House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan, Olsen says this means they need to go on offense: “Eric Cantor’s recent statements that Ryan’s plan is the only way to protect Medicare is a step in the right direction, Republicans need to fight the war over the future of Medicare fiercely and intelligently. Perhaps tonight’s debacle will be the wake-up call they sorely need.”

This is dead on. The Democrats do-nothing Medicare plan cuts doctor payments by 30% in 2012 and would cause 25% of all hospitals to go bankrupt by 2030. The Ryan plan actually pays doctors for the health care they provide. If blue-collar voters know these facts in 2012, Republicans will do just fine.

Ryan: Speaking of Ryan. National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg adds his name to the growing list of conservatives who believe Ryan should run for president: “Perhaps the only guy who can explain the GOP budget should run.”

Pawlenty: Following his call for ending ethanol subsidies in Iowa Monday, Pawlenty traveled to Florida yesterday where he took on Social Security, calling for a “gradual” raise in the retirement age and ending cost-of-living increases for wealthy retirees.

Pawlenty did not substantively address Medicare, and he has distanced himself from the Ryan plan, but he has promised to release his own plan in the coming months.

Debt limit: Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., confirmed Vice President Joe Biden’s claims that the Gang of Biden deficit talks have identified more than $1 trillion in cuts. But Cantor refused to endorse Biden’s demand that tax hikes be part of any final deal.

A new Washington Post-Pew poll should strengthen Republicans at the negotiating table: “Only 35 percent of Americans say they are more worried about the risk of default and economic destabilization if Congress does not raise the debt limit.”

Meanwhile in the Senate, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, made her long-expected opposition to the Ryan plan official, telling the Portland Press Herald: “I am going to vote no on the budget because I have deep and abiding concerns about the approach on Medicare, which is essentially to privatize it.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid says he expects a vote on the Ryan budget Thursday. Sens. Snowe, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., are the only confirmed GOP “nos” so far.

Righty playbook:

  • At The Corner, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute’s Christian Schneider looks at solutions to Illinois’ pension crisis.
  • RedState‘s Neil Stevens asks Texas Gov. Rick Perry to veto the Amazon tax.
  • The Weekly Standard‘s Mark Dubowitz explains the difference between Ireland and Israel to Obama.
  • Power Line‘s John Hinderaker fact checks Robert Greenwald’s latest video on the Keystone Pipeline.
  • The Corner‘s Mark Krikorian notes that the 30,000 inmates the Supreme Court has ordered California to release is awfully close to the 27,000 illegal immigrants the GAO said California was housing in its prisons in 2008.

Lefty playbook:

  • The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent reports that “the successful bailout of the auto industry” will be “central” in making Obama’s case for reelection.
  • The Huffington Post‘s Jon Ward claims the Tea Party’s number one goal is defeating Mitt Romney.
  • ThinkProgress‘slams Congress for applauding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu statement that Israel does not occupy the West Bank.
  • Talking Points Memo notes that new DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) thanked Newt Gingrich for helping Democrats win NY-26.
  • At The Huffington Post, Mill Mckibben says global warming is to blame for the tornado in Joplin, Missouri.

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