The DNC is making a big mistake, reading too much into the victory of (D) Kathy Hochul over (R) Jane Corwin. The campaign was successful, but it's no indicator of a "national trend." In fact, if there's any "trend," it might be to the special congressional election in NY23, back in '09, which the Democrat candidate (Dede Scozzafava) also won in a "traditional" GOP district. They boasted about that win, and then came 2010, and the GOP "Wave." What the national parties underestimate is the depth of voter apathy and political indifference throughout NY's electorate. Most of the people who vote are being paid off, one way or another, by the corrupt progressive bureaucracy.
Imagine you're a Republican who voted for the idiot that caused this special election. You were part of that national GOP "wave," and now this guy's made you look a bad judge of character. You don't trust the NYS GOP to put up a "conservative" candidate, and Ms. Corwin lived up (down?) to expectations, withering under an ad campaign against the Ryan budget. In fact, the ad was classic "Mediscare," an almost comical representation of Rep. Ryan (perhaps?) dumping an old lady off a cliff from her wheelchair. Watching this, you're disgusted with both parties, as usual, and decide not to vote.
That's anecdotal, but there were other factors in the NY26 race, as in the '09 23rd special election. In '09, the Tea Party candidate was so popular, the GOP candidate dropped out of the race, and endorsed the Democrat, who won. This time, the "Tea Party" candidate was a rich Dem who spent over $2 Mil to see how much of the "dumbass" vote he could get. He got more than the margin of Ms. Hochul's victory, which means it could've gone either way, if he hadn't entered the race and spent his money so liberally.
Imagine you're a "Tea Party" conservative, and you hate the NYS GOP. You are sick of the bipartisan political corruption that permeates our state. Either you don't vote, or you do what you did in the last election. You vote for the rich "Tea Party" phony, to send a message to the GOP. NY's 26th district is in the Buffalo area, which was Paladino's political base, so it's not surprising that the fake "Tea Party" candidate got 9% of the vote.
Nonetheless, the Dems and their loyal media supporters wasted no time touting this as "the model" for their national 2012 campaign. Most of the nation is not like NYS, and when someone on TV says "a solid GOP district," one has to look at the quality of the NYS GOP. Personally, I'm happy to see my own Sen. Schumer pushing this "Mediscare" tactic. It shows that he's as clueless about the rest of the nation as they are about NYS.
There's a pattern here, but if the Dems want to repeat it, they can only blame themselves. While it's true that Medicare has been one of the "third rails" of politics, it's not the sole reason Jane Corwin lost in NY 26. She lost because she didn't bat the "Mediscare" ad right out of the ballpark, and move the debate to the cost of Obamacare, and the various ineffective "stimulus" plans. Why allow a proposed budget plan to be demonized more than the train wreck Obama has brought upon our economy? Gas prices are up, housing prices are down, and we'll have another year of this "recovery" before the 2012 elections. It's no wonder the Dems are grasping at the same old scare tactics. It's all they can do, trying to distract voters from economic reality. It may work in a NY special election, but it won't work in a national election.NOTE: I edited these two paragraphs out, but they're worth adding on this post:
Jane Corwin was no Dede Scozzafava, but she didn't forcefully stand up to the critics of the Ryan budget. She could have pointed out that there is no Democratic proposal for Medicare reform, and that Obamacare will do more damage to Medicare than the Dems say Ryan's budget will. It's not a hard argument to make, but I didn't hear it. I have a feeling that most successful GOP candidates in 2012 will be on top of this message, if the Dems try to use it as a "wedge" issue.
This special election showed why NY is considered a "solid blue" state. GOP candidates seen to reflexively flinch at the classic "scare tactics" that Dems use, and a real conservative (Tea Party) candidate, as Ms. Scozzafava's opponent was, got backbit by the state party. It's almost a "no-win" situation, where the GOP is just as bad as the Dems, policy-wise. I have to note that Doug Hoffman, the real conservative in the NY 23 special election, lost the GOP primary in 2010. He then took the Conservative Party nod, only to drop out of the race in less than 2 weeks, according to Wikipedia (link). He was still on the ballot, though, and became the spoiler, taking over 9,500 votes, when the Dem won by less than 4,000 votes.