That’s the AP’s spin on yesterday’s “surprising” election results in New York and Nevada. I’d say that genuine hope and change has arrived… with a vengeance:
It sounded improbable on the surface that a New York City congressional district where Democrats have a 3-1 registration edge and have held office for nearly a century could even come close to electing a Republican to the U.S. House.
But voter frustration over the sour economy and President Barack Obama’s policies made the improbable a reality, as a Republican political novice, Bob Turner, scored an upset victory in a special election Tuesday over David Weprin, a Democratic assemblyman from a prominent local political family. The surprising results in the Brooklyn and Queens-area district portend a perilous national environment for Obama as he prepares to seek re-election next year.
Turner said as much when he stepped before cameras to claim victory Tuesday night.
“This message will resound for a full year. It will resound into 2012,” said Turner, a retired broadcasting executive. “I only hope our voices are heard, and we can start putting things right again.”
Also Tuesday, Republican Mark Amodei won a landslide victory in a U.S. House special election in Nevada, an important presidential swing state.
The national mood has darkened since May, when Democrats scored their own unexpected win in another New York special election. Then, Democrat Kathy Hochul won an upset victory in a heavily Republican district by stressing her commitment to protecting Medicare, the government health plan for seniors.
Weprin tried to adopt that strategy, warning that Turner would try to cut programs like Medicare and Social Security. But with unemployment still stubbornly high and voters upset with Washington over the debt ceiling negotiations, the pledge to protect entitlements was less resonant this time.
Democratic leaders trying to explain their bad night blamed it on the quirkiness of low-turnout special elections.
“The results in NY-09 are not reflective of what will happen in November 2012 when Democratic challengers run against Republican incumbents who voted to end Medicare and cut Social Security while protecting tax loopholes for big corporations and the ultra wealthy,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York.
Mr. Israel can spin this however he wishes to spin it, but spin it is. Obama and his policies were the victims of a smackdown. A righteous and hopeful smackdown.
It truly is hope and change to believe in.