September 5, 2010

Starting to sweat..

Seems like the Democrats are finally -- finally -- waking up to the realization that they might get their asses handed to them in NOvember. from a NYT story (linked to the Oakland Tribune version here), it seems they want to "firewall" the House and Senate races and cut their losses in order to try and preserve control of Congress.

As Democrats brace for a November wave that threatens their control of the House, party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority.

In the next two weeks, Democratic leaders will review new polls and other data that show whether vulnerable incumbents have a path to victory. If not, the party is poised to redirect money to concentrate on trying to protect up to two dozen lawmakers who appear to be in the strongest position to fend off their challengers.

"We are going to have to win these races one by one," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, conceding that the party would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground.

Although as recently as 10 August, Democrats said they were pleased with fund raising efforts and were confident they'd get out the vote, there has been a sudden, sterner tone in their rhetoric along with concessions that things might not be so rosy come 11/2/2010.

To hold the line against Republicans, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, issued an urgent plea for members in safe districts to help their endangered colleagues by contributing money. She called out to Democrats who were delinquent on paying their party dues and instructed members with no re-election worries to tap into a combined $218 million from their campaign accounts to help save their majority.

"We need to know your commitment," Pelosi wrote to lawmakers last week in a private letter, demanding that they call her within 72 hours to explain how they plan to help.

She added, "The day after the election, we do not want to have any regrets."

It remains to be seen, however, who will have the regrets at the end of the year. While all signs point to a bloodbath, it ain't over til the fat lady says it's over, the Germans bomb Pearl Harbor, and all that..

I still say we cannot afford to phone this one in. Conservative commentators and pundits were at first cautious about predicting the angry tidal wave vote that would sweep incumbents congress out of office but are on board with the cheery predictions. Of course, this will only heighten expectations to a degree that anything less than a 75-seat wipe-out would seem like a moral victory for Democrats.

In 1994, it came as a big surprise when they got flushed. But if they know it's coming, guaranteed it won't seem as bad as they (or anyone) expected. Additionally, they just might mitigate the outcome should they mount this Alamo-like defense of the House and Senate they're planning (emphasis added):

While several Democratic candidates have more money in the bank than their rivals, Democrats fear that outside Republican advocacy groups will step in and fill the gap. They are watching to see if interest groups and other constituencies increase their donations to Republicans in the hopes of winning access and influence should the House change hands.

While Democrats have all but given up hope that the political or economic climate will improve substantially before the election, they are not conceding control of the House. Several party leaders and strategists privately acknowledge that about 20 seats are already probably lost, but they believe they can build a fire wall around seats in the Northeast and in other pockets across the country where Republicans have nominated untested candidates.

The battle is boiling down to a question of mathematics and difficult decisions for Democrats. By the best-case Democratic calculation, party strategists believe that Republicans must beat about 35 sitting Democrats if the parties split 16 highly-competitive open seats and Democrats win four of five Republican seats they see as within their reach in Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and Louisiana.

In such a scenario, the survivors might be regarded as heroes and -- should the Republicans fail to govern in Congress with stern conservative principles -- the whole thing can be spun as "See, I told you so" and arguably lend credence to Obama in the final two years of his first (but not necessarily last) term.

I dunno how to play this so I am going to firewall it myself -- I'm going full tilt until NOvember -- to get Boxer and Pelosi out of power. That's the best i can do from the Left Coast.


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