NY-26: Mediscare Returns!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 16 2011 3:42 PM

NY-26: Mediscare Returns!

Was it only two weeks ago that Republican freshmen called for an end to "Mediscare politics"? That they wrote this in a letter to Barack Obama? 

We have the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and fulfill the mandate set by the people to strengthen our country for future generations -- not continue the petty politics we have seen in the past, which only creates an environment of stalemate.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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The slate isn't clean anymore; Republican Jane Corwin's campaign in NY-26 is running this ad against Democrat Kathy Hochul.

Now, on one level this was a rookie Hochul mistake. Moderators will always ask Democrats if they'll join Republicans in the War on Unseriousness and put entitlements on the table. If the response is "no," the moderator can dig in about how entitlements are unaffordable without reform -- which is why Corwin et al say, misleadingly, that voucherizing Medicare is "saving" it, not ending it and creating a new program that isn't as comprehensive. But Hochul went with the serious answer, floating the idea of some kind of non-voucherizing entitlement reforms. What exactly does she favor?

"She means only reforms to Medicare," explained Hochul's spokesman Fabian Levy, "like having Medicare negotiate for prescription drugs the way the VA does -- cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse, implementing comparative effectiveness research. The fact that she's trying to turn this around is a sign of desperation of her part. But we all know how fond Jane Corwin and the party are of clipping videos."

That last sentence is a winking reference to the multi-day mess that began when Corwin's chief of staff confronted Jack Davis, the Democrat-turned-Tea Party candidate, Davis took a swing, and team Corwin declined to release the full tape after team Davis claimed to be responding to harassment.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.