"LIBERAL COCOONING" is a term Mickey Kaus invented. So let's let him describe what it means:
"The point is that reporters and editors at papers like the Times (either one!) are exquisitely sensitive to any sign that Democrats might win, but don't cultivate equivalent sensitivity when it comes to discerning signs Republicans might win. (Who wants to read that?) The result, in recent years, is the Liberal Cocoon, in which Democratic partisans are kept happy and hopeful until they are slaughtered every other November." Kaus' subject was an article in the L.A. Times, but his theory applies equally well to the paper's New York namesake.
David Cohen writes that this week's gubernatorial elections could cause Terry McAuliffe to be cocooned as well--at home and out of a job.
UPDATE: Sean Rushton looks at how the Democrats filibustering of judicial nominees played a factor in the last two years' elections.
ANOTHER UPDATE: We want to give credit where credit is due. As much as we like Mickey's columns, apparently the "liberal cocoon" phrase was actually first coined by J. Peter Mulhern in a July 30, 2001 piece in Washington Weekly.