I might be guilty of drive-by analysis. I opined (as will many less than completely original people today) that the victory of a Democrat in a heavily Republican New York congressional district yesterday happened because Republicans have failed to make their case on Medicare reform and the ever-resourceful Democrats successfully used demagoguery on the issue.

Not so fast, says James Antle of the American Spectator. Antle says that before making the “inevitable analysis” of yesterday’s election results, we should read what the respected political analyst Charlie Cook had to say:

To be honest, I take a perverse pleasure in watching a multitude of well-intentioned political observers weigh in on the “great significance” of this upstate House race to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of GOP Rep. Chris Lee.  

In addition to other things, I have heard them talk about what it portends for the Medicare issue and the 2012 elections for the House nationwide.  

It’s all nonsense. …

The vast majority of congressional elections are effectively fought between one Democrat, one Republican and perhaps a mishmash of unknown independent and third-party candidates that rarely make a difference in the outcome of the election.  

In this Republican-leaning 26th District fight, there is one Democrat, one Republican and, oh, yes, a wealthy, abortion-rights, economic protectionist, former Republican, former Democrat, current tea partier, who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006 and 2008-spending a total of $5.2 million of his own money-and has already spent at least another $1.7 million in this race for Congress.

If anyone can find a race next year with a similar configuration, be my guest and apply the “lessons learned” from this race to that one. But implying that the outcome of this race portends anything about any conventional race next year amounts to cheap spin and drive-by “analysis” of the most superficial kind, which is sadly becoming all too prevalent in Washington. There are a lot of folks in D.C. who would be well-served switching to decaf.

Okay, I’ve already had several cups of coffee today. Maybe I am more hyper on the fate of the republic (as portended by NY-26) than is justified. Maybe also we should just pretend the Republicans lost because of Medicare. That way, they’ll work extra hard to explain the issue clearly in 2012.