How Ugly Democrats Took Traditional GOP Seat

How did Democrats take the congressional seat in a strongly Republican district in New York yesterday? With horrific demagoguery on Medicare.

Democrat Kathy Hochul bounded to the stage of a union hall in Amherst, just northeast of Buffalo, late Tuesday as the newly elected congresswoman from the ruby red congressional district that brought us Jack Kemp, Bill Paxon and Tom Reynolds.

"Save Medicare/Vote Hochul," the signs said. Six and a half months after Republicans regained the House and three months after the seat's most recent occupant, Republican Chris Lee, resigned after flexing his biceps for the wrong other woman on Craigslist, Hochul showed congressional Democrats that they have some reason for hope in 2012.

The Democrats won because they had the right message and the right candidate and the blessing of weak opposition. Hochul won by 48 percent to 42 percent over Republican Jane Corwin, a self-funded millionairess delivering an austere 2010 message a few months too late. "Tea Party" candidate Jack Davis drew 9 percent of the vote, but, given that two late polls showed voters abandoning Davis for Hochul, it's fair to assume that Hochul would have won regardless of whether Davis, a former Democrat, had run.