As the Republican Party went to bed last night, the talk was that the loss in NY-26 wasn't a big predictor, didn't augur anything, whistle-whistle past the graveyard. "If special elections were an early warning system, they sure failed to alert the Democrats of the political tsunami that flooded their ranks in 2010," Republican Congressional Committee chair Pete Sessions wrote.
By morning, you could see signs that Republicans might be rethinking this one. Congressman Paul Ryan, whose budget proposal would end Medicare as we know it, said that Medicare certainly played a role in Democrat Kathy Hochul's win over Republican Jane Corwin. Mr. Ryan predicted that Democratic attacks would ultimately fail. "I personally don't think it will work," he told MSNBC. As the author of the Medicare plan, Congressman Ryan has a very vested interest in seeing it work over time, or at least on insisting that it will work until the Republican Party finishes backing away from it.
Closer to home, New York Congressman Peter T. King, a Republican, sounded more ready to sort things out. "It's a Republican district with a solid Republican candidate," Mr. King told the New York Times. "What went wrong? We definitely have to determine the extent to which the Medicare issue hurt us."
You could argue that Jane Corwin was a flawed candidate, failing to counteract her opponent's Medicare charges and just generally being lackluster. But part of what went wrong, as Ezra Klein notes this morning, is that seniors really do like their single-payer health care, and the rest of us are hoping to get that same deal one day.