Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Lessons from NY-26

Some silly spin is circulating about the game-changing disaster suffered by our Wacko Brigade yesterday in the special House of Representatives election in Buffalo. Let’s dispatch this b.s. and then get to a more important aspect of what happened.

There were three candidates in the race to fill the empty House seat (vacated by a hypocrite who couldn’t keep his clothes on while telling others not to perform sexual acts). Fox & friends will be bursting cranial arteries today to convince people that the Teabagger on the ballot, Jack (Batshit Crazy) Davis, drew conservative votes away from the nice Republican lady who otherwise would have won.

Nice theory, but it doesn’t hold up. The Albany Project, run by a guy who spends his days studying this stuff, noted ages ago that the goofball Davis was attracting support from the disaffected but would deflate by election day. TAP further predicted that a solid majority of Davis backers would then move to the Democratic candidate, which from all accounts is exactly what happened.

But something much more significant that the horseplay of a bored millionaire can be seen in the numbers. Cast an eye at these:

Chris Lee (R) 148,607
Alice Kryzan (D) 109,615
Jon Powers (WFP) 12,104 (the Working Families Party is a natural Democratic constituency and generally stays out of races where it could end up a spoiler)
Total = 270,326

Chris Lee (R) 151,449
Philip A. Fedele (D) 54,307
Total = 205,756

Kathy Hochul (D) 48,530
Jane Corwin (R) 43,836
Jack Davis (T) 9,495
Ian Murphy (I) 1,130
Total = 102,991

Since 2008 was a presidential year, turnout was high at 270,000. But even on an off-year election in 2010, the Republican stalwarts were fired up and turned out in exactly equal numbers, giving shirtless Chris Lee a whopping 70-plus percent. By contrast, Obama voters, dispirited by his compromises and systematically dissed by Rahm Emanuel, stayed away.

Now look at what just happened yesterday: the Republicans’ base evaporated by two-thirds. A hundred thousand of them preferred to stay home and watch TV rather than endorse the Paul Ryan [pictured at right--horrible!] ‘Let-Them-Eat-Cake’ budget. While neither side generated much enthusiasm, red voters who had hitched up with Boner, Cantor, Palin and Gingrich six months ago poured into the divorce courts like they were Wal-Marts on Black Friday.

I hope, however, that no one gets all starry-eyed about the Democrats’ intentions. Obama’s congratulatory statement immediately mentioned the need to ‘create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future’. This is some lame shit. It echoes the principal phony Republican talking point (deficits cause unemployment—oh, please) and repeats stale, testosterone-laced sports metaphors about how great we are/will be.

Obama reveals in these carefully selected phrases that he is an elitist at heart, all about winning and being the best. I believe that the elite he represents has decided that our most important benefits from the twentieth century, Social Security and Medicare, are costing too much. Don’t think that just because the Republicans overplayed their hand and got lost up their own rectal compartments that this long-term intention will be set aside. The tactics will have to shift, but the daggers remain sharpened.

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