1. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the DNC, proffered the dubious explanation that “It’s a very difficult district for Democrats.” It must just be a testament to Democratic courage and resolve that they have won the last 88 years of congressional elections.
2. Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained, “It’s not the end of the Obama administration … these tend to be very local races.” The mainstream media does not seem to agree that this was a “very local race,” given the attention they eventually lavished on the race.
3. Reacting to suggestions that Weprin’s loss reflects anger with Obama, House minority whip Steny Hoyer argued, “I think every election reflects on the person in charge, but do I think it is an overall statement on the president alone? No.” So it was an overall statement on all Democrats then?
4. Politico reports that “Much of New York’s still-powerful labor movement, meanwhile, sat the race out … Weprin [had] to rely on the rusting party machine.” No one will argue that yesterday’s election proved the Democratic machine to be rusty, but Weprin also bragged he had “every labor union in the city behind [his] candidacy” and claimed to field 1,000 labor activists in a GOTV drive.
5. Rep. Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, argued, “Special elections are always difficult — they are low turnout, high intensity races.” Ignoring the oxymoron of a race with high intensity but a low turnout, Israel’s committee certainly tried to improve turnout — their $600,000 in Weprin TV ads, versus none purchased by Turner, appear to have made little difference.
6. Israel also argued that yesterday was “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.” In doing so, he basically described Bob Turner’s position: significant reform of Social Security and Medicare, and stating (accidentally) in a debate that he “never met a loophole he didn’t like.” This appears not to be the unpopular proposition Israel assumes it is.
7. The DNC hosted a conference call today to continue spinning the election as meaningless. Sen. Chuck Schumer argued “the election in 2012 will be very different … the jobs issue is going to be very, very important, probably more important than just about any other.” No one will dispute the latter statement, but that would make 2012 no different than yesterday’s election, in which both candidates asserted repeatedly that the election was about jobs.
8. In the same conference, on whether Democrats were worried about losing their near-monopoly on the Jewish vote, Wasserman Schultz responded that “the Democrats have consistently received the Jewish vote, and will again.” This is a bit of a tautology, especially Democrats have also consistently won the Ninth district, and did not yesterday.
9. White House press secretary Jay Carney argued today, “Special elections are often unique and their outcomes don’t tell you very much about future regularly scheduled elections.” Unfortunately, elections expert Nate Silver noted that, in fact, “academic studies find that special elections do have some predictive power, especially taken as a group.” So much for liberal devotion to empiricism.