Thursday, May 26, 2011

NY 26: A Referendum? Tea Party Needs to Step Up

A special election was held in New York's 26th district on Tuesday. This seat was held by Congressman Chris Lee, who resigned following the discovery of pictures of him shirtless on Craigs List, apparently seeking out women.
Lee won his election with 68% of the vote in 2010 and the seat has been held by Republicans for fifty years. Obviously a Conservative district. But, as so often happens when a politician gets caught with his pants down, or in this case, his shirt off phishing for women, the party pays a price with an exodus of voters that just can't bring themselves to vote for anyone from that party based on one persons indiscretions.
This district was expected to be fairly close but still a victory for the Republican, Jane Corwin. The Democrat, Kathy Hochul was expected lose, and a Democrat who had run for the seat in the past, Jack Davis, ran as a Tea Party Candidate.
The results? Hochul won with 48% to Corwin's 42% with Davis getting 9% of the vote. The media and the Democrats are claiming it's a referendum on the Ryan budget which they say is going to destroy medicare. The Republicans are claiming that Davis took away votes from Corwin costing her the election.
First, Ryan's budget does not decimate Medicare. Even if it did, it would be a choic between ending it sometime in the next two years or waiting an additional six years and having it die on the vine. Medicare is already operating in the red, meaning it's spending more than it's taking in. It is projected to be completely out of money in 8 years. What have the Democrats proposed? Nothing. Even Obamacare has removed a substantial portion from Medicare and Hochul campaigned claiming that Obamacare was wrong to remove that money.
So if this was a referendum on Ryan's budget, then the people were misled in the campaign. Imagine that. Politicians lying to voters to get elected. I'm shocked!
Second, Jane Corwin, the Republican did not run hard. After all, it's a Republican district. She apparently thought it was going to be a fairly easy victory. So why get into the details of what she's going to do? Well, now she should know. Conservative viewpoints don't lose elections. Failing to express those conservative viewpoints will lose elections. She lost.
Third, the supposed Tea Party Candidate. Jack Davis is a former candidate on the Democrat side for that same seat. He's lost three elections as a Democrat. He only garnered 9% of the vote as a Tea Party candidate. But he really isn't a Tea Pary candidate. He was there to dilute votes from the Republican side. Was he successful? Probably. But not entirely.
It's likely that he received some votes by some that weren't paying attention and just voted for the Tea Party candidate because they believe in the Tea Party positions. But I'd be surprised if his entire 9% was due to that.
Democrats will run as anything they can to win. Hochul may really believe that Obamacare was wrong to remove money from Medicare. We'll see how she ends up being over the next year before the next election.
Republicans need to get their conservative views out there and not hide from them, or hold them back. If they are going to run for a seat, they should be putting their views out there and answering questions. Corwin would not get a huge majority like Lee did in his election, but she still should have received enough votes to win, even with the Tea Party candidate.
The Tea Party needs to step up. They wanted to back one candidate for the Republicans but when their candidate wasn't chosen to run, they wouldn't back the Republican that was. That's fine if she wasn't conservative, however, the Tea Party runs the risk of making themselves irrelevent if they only back people that embrace the Tea Party rather than the one that comes closest to their positions on the issues. They also run the risk of looking incompetent if they don't stand up when they have a phony person running using their name.
The Tea Party in New Yorks 26th district failed. The Republican failed. The Democrats won but not likely because of their message.
This is a perfect example of "lead, follow or get out of the way". The Tea Party failed in New York. They played politics. They didn't lead. They got in the way of the Republican and are partially responsible for electing a liberal Democrat. They didn't stand up for their name by coming out against Jack Davis.
If the Tea Party groups around the country start playing politics like this group did in New York, we're going to be right back where we started from. Politicians getting elected from both parties that don't answer to the people, but instead look out for their own seats (you can take that as the seat they won, or the seat they carry behind them, or both) once they are in office.
You're welcome to comment.

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