Morning Examiner: The complete irrelevance of NY-26 

NY-26: Democrats and the liberal media are going to try to make today’s special election in NY-26 a referendum on the Republican’s 2012 chances in light of House Budget Committee Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity plan. Don’t buy it. The left and their media allies need to explain how this election is any different than the 2009 special election in NY-23.

Just like NY-26, NY-23 is a three way race where the only reason the Democrat has a chance is because a third candidate will split the conservative vote. Just like NY-26, the liberal is trying  to nationalize the NY-23 special election. They claimed NY-23 was a referendum on Republican’s move to the right after President Obama’s election. When Democrat Bill Owens eventually won, The New York Times called the loss “a blow to the right” that undermined “party’s most deeply held conservative principles.” Democrats took the election as evidence that they would hold on the House in 2010. How did that turn out for them?

The liberal firm Public Policy Polling released a poll Sunday showing Democrat Kathy Hochol poised to win the seat with just 42% of the vote (compared to Republican Jane Corwin’s 36%). That would be six points less than the 48% that Owens won in NY-23.

Upstate New York is a beautiful part of the country, but three-way House special elections there are not bellweathers for the nation’s political mood.

Pawlenty: Former-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty drew wide conservative praise for his courage to reject ethanol subsidies in his campaign kickoff speech in Iowa yesterday. But as RedState‘s Moe Lane points out, John McCain did the same thing in 2008. Pawlenty will have to hope he does better in that state in 2012 than McCain did in 2008.

For all its focus on truth-telling, Pawlenty’s speech also ducked Medicare, a reminder that with Mitch Daniels out of the race, the GOP still does not have a candidate willing to run on entitlement reform.

Pawlenty did make many conservatives happy by appearing on Rush Limbaugh’s show. Rush wrote on Facebook: “One of the things that frustrates Republicans is that there seems to be this reluctance on the part of everybody in this party to take President Obama on. Governor Pawlenty is qualified and he has the guts, too.”

Elsewhere, Time‘s Michael Crowley defended Pawlenty from Democratic National Committee attacks on Pawlenty’s “I don’t know” answer to Crowley’s question about when he started thinking about running for president.

Budget: Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., Susan Collins, R-Maine., and Rand Paul, R-Ky.,  are now all on record saying they will not vote for Ryan’s budget. Brown and Collins want to see fewer changes made to Medicare while Paul thinks the Ryan plan does not reform Medicare enough.

Libya: On the same day that Britain and France announced they would be sending helicopters into Libya, Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and John Kerry, R-Ariz., introduced a resolution in support of Obama’s military intervention in the country. Also Monday, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., wrote a letter to Obama, criticizing him for not seeking Congressional permission for the mission.

And in the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., hinted Monday that a Libya resolution would be attached as an amendment to a defense authorization bill that the House will begin debating on Tuesday.

Righty playbook:

  • The Corner‘s Andrew Stiles previews a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report finding that Obama’s policies are to blame for high gas prices.
  • RedState‘s Erick Erickson makes the case that, historically, the 2012 Republican field is pretty typical.
  • The Weekly Standard‘s Jeffrey Anderson tells House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen that we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
  • Power Line‘s John Hinderaker notes that National Magazine Award winner Scott Horton’s Guantanamo reporting is a lie.
  • The Heritage Foundation‘s James Sherk looks at Tennessee’s vote to end collective bargaining for teachers.

Lefty playbook:

  • The Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein reports on the White House’s new online rapid response staff position.
  • ThinkProgress has video of Jon Huntsman telling a crowd in New Hampshire that the very idea of a border fence “repulses” him.
  • Talking Points Memo flags a letter from Roger Beverage, head of the Oklahoma Banker’s Association and one-time Elizabeth Warren critic, asking Obama to recess appoint Warren to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • The Associated Press “fact checks” Pawlenty’s presidential announcement.

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