Did The Debate Over Medicare, The Debt, The Debt Ceiling, And The 2012 Election Just Change Overnight?


[credit provider=”YouTube: White House” url=”http://youtu.be/lX16OrIVfeQ”]

The fact is that a Democrat handily won a special election last night in upstate NY.There were some complicating factors at play, such as the fact that the winner — Kathy Hochul — ran a better campaign. And it was a special election, and there was a third-party “Tea Party” candidate that sucked votes from the GOP.

BUT, this campaign was also a referendum on Medicare and The Ryan Plan.

As our John Ellis put it last night:

This election would never have happened without the Medicare issue (which is to say: House passage of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan which called for the “overhaul” of Medicare).  A lot of people, when they heard “overhaul,” thought “privatization.” Hochul made this her issue — her onlyissue.  It enabled her win tonight.

The adults in the Republican Party have already begun thinking through how the GOP gets out from under the issue of “overhauling” Medicare.  The quickest way would be to strike a grand (or large) bargain with President Obama that requires both sides to sign off on Medicare reform.  But after tonight, the Democrats won’t do a deal that takes the Medicare issue off the table.  Tonight, Democrats saw electoral salvation.  They’re not about to barter it away.

Bottom line: It’s not just theoretical anymore that this issue hurts Republicans. Democrats are drawing blood, and that changes the tenor of all these big, macro debates.