Civility Dep’t

Congratulations to Kathy Hochul for her Congressional victory in a solidly Republican district. But credit where it’s due: the real author of her victory was Paul Ryan.

On behalf of my fellow Democrats, I would like to engage in a bit of bipartisan good sportsmanship. While lots of people – starting with the candidate – deserve credit for Kathy Hochul’s convincing victory in a Jack Kemp’s old Congressional district, the bulk of the kudos belongs to Paul Ryan, without whose plan to destroy Medicare the result would not have been possible.

The rest of the Democrats owe it to Mr. Ryan to carry on his good work, by making sure that every voter in American knows that voting for the Ryan budget means denying health care to old people. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we can do no less.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

14 thoughts on “Civility Dep’t”

  1. The linked article notes Kathy Hochul, “…siezed on the Republican’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconson, to overhaul Medicare, AND SHE NEVER LET UP*.”
    Take note Democrats! NEVER LET UP is how you win. Try it some time.

    *emphasis mine

  2. Very civil of you, Mr. Kleiman. Congratulating the loser is always good form.

    I love good sportsmanship.

  3. Not Jack Kemp’s district; he represented NY-31. But that’s only because of redistricting; there are now only 29 districts.

  4. For a while I did not understand why Democrats didn’t try harder to unseat Ryan, whose district in Wisconsin has the highest unemployment in the state. Now I see why.

  5. and the Ds should let folks know that Rs will want to privatize Medicare in 2011,2012,2013,2014……. This is and will be a defining principle of Republican governance for quite some time. So when 2016 rolls around and people are looking for a change, they should know this is what they will get.

  6. Mark, maybe you can get through to the President? He still hasn’t learned to play this game. Or, maybe he has and is content to be the political equivalent of the 1962 Mets? And that’s why we are so screwed? Cornel West is shrill, very shrill. And correct.

  7. I’m not sure if “convincing victory” is how I’d describe a Democrat beating a Republican 47-43 in a race where another candidate ran under the “Tea Party” banner and in a special off-cycle election.

    Throw this in with Scott Brown’s vicotry a couple of years ago in a race for Ted Freaking Kennedy’s seat and the most generalizable lesson we can draw is that “voters don’t seem to like proposed changes to the architecture of health care finance very much.” Which may well play to the benefits of Democrats in 2012 (much as it played to the benefit of Republicans in 2010), but isn’t exactly a good sign for a country that cannot afford to continue the current growth trend in health care costs.

  8. Congratulations are also due to Bibi Netanyahu, who, together with Hillary Clinton, came up with a joint statement for Middle East peace, namely basing it on Israel’s “1967 lines, with agreed swaps.” http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2010/Joint_statement_PM_Netanyahu_US_Sec_Clinton_11-Nov-2010.htm is the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs way of putting it back in November. I just hope that no one tries to plagiarize it and pass it off as his own idea. Bibi and Hillary deserve all the credit.

  9. sd, your second point is perfectly valid. I’d also add that special elections are odd beasts, and any given election may be decided by fluke events and the strengths and weaknesses of individuals.

    Still, your first point is absurd. In a district that I’ve seen variously but that is at the least historically R+6, a Democrat took 47% (and a Green took 1%). Yes, the Republican and the Tea Party candidate combined for a bare majority – but that’s in a district where the Republican should have romped to victory breezily, even effortlessly. Note alsoe that the Tea Party candidate was previously a Democratic candidate, that he ran mostly on trade issues that both major parties have trouble addressing, and that according to polls his voters would, in his absence, have split between the Republican and the Democrat 2:1, a split that would have left the Republican in the minority.

  10. What I, and most Democrats I would hope, should be really be worried about, as stated by BTD over at Talk Left:

    “Steve Israel said there were three issues in this race — “Medicare, Medicare and Medicare.” Obama could not say the word even one time. That’s troubling”

    Amen to that.

  11. I should have clarified my comment above by stating Israel was referring to Obama’s congratlatory remarks to Hochul.

  12. I think that Obama was right not to mention Medicare in his call. The important thing for him to do is to support the Democratic approach and to attack the entire Republican program, not just one aspect of it. Steve Israel did well to emphasize Medicare, but he is not the President.

    I am still unhappy with the White House for failing to give credit to Netanyahu where credit was due with respect to the 1967 borders. The incompetence of the news media for not making the Netanyahu-Clinton joint statement common knowledge is pretty sad as well. And the mendacity of both the GOP and the Israeli PM are par for the course but disgusting nevertheless.

  13. So, Obama did not state the bleeding obvious in his call to Ms. Hochul, and we should be very, very worried. Was Tuesday some sort of deadline for revealing his 2012 re-election strategy? Did he not recently give a speech eviscerating the Ryan proposal? Is saving Medicare the only issue we should care about, and the only place where the President should draw contrast with the GOP? Or, perhaps Medicare is just a piece that will figure heavily now and again, but this President wants to focus on the bigger picture.

    Obamas 2012 strategy: Give them shovels. Stand back quietly. Watch them dig.

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