Posted on | March 30, 2011 | 17 Comments
Thanks to Moe Lane for pointing this out. In the immediate aftermath of the mid-term GOP tsunami, Democrats were boasting about how many of the Republican freshmen they were targeting for 2012. In the past few months, however, these boasts have been significantly downsized. Jim Geraghty at National Review reprints this e-mail from the National Republican Congressional Committee:
IN NOVEMBER 2010, THE DCCC SAID IT WAS TARGETING 61 DISTRICTS CARRIED BY OBAMA: “The DCCC has identified 61 seats currently held by Republicans in districts that Barack Obama won in 2008. ‘Republicans won a lot of seats they have no business winning,’ said a top Democratic strategist. ‘It’s going to be a full-on recruitment cycle [and] Israel is the perfect person for that.’” (Brian Beutler, “Blue Dogged: Meet Steve Israel, The Incoming Chair Of The DCCC,” Talking Points Memo, 11/23/10)
EARLIER THIS MONTH, THEY SCALED THAT BACK TO 37 SUBURBAN DISTRICTS: “Representative Nancy Pelosi’s selection of Mr. Israel to lead the Congressional campaign had much to do with his district, a swath of Nassau and Suffolk Counties where Democrats hold a modest registration edge but independents decide elections. The path to retaking the House, both say, leads through 37 similar suburban districts, home to nine million independents who voted for President Obama in 2008 but deserted the party in the 2010 elections.” (David M. Halbfinger, “L.I. Congressman Leads Uphill Charge Toward a Democratic House,” New York Times, 03/19/11)
NOW, THE DCCC HAS BEEN FORCED TO FOCUS ON ONLY 14 DISTRICTS: “The Democratic Party is taking aim at 14 freshmen Republicans in the House, of 87 elected, whom it deems the most vulnerable…the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is focusing on districts where Mr. Obama and Senator John Kerry both won as presidential nominees and where Democrats have a registration advantage.” (Jennifer Steinhauer, “Hardly Settled in House, but Already in Hot Seat,” New York Times, 03/27/11)
ACTUALLY, THEY EVEN GOT THAT NUMBER WRONG. IT’S 13 DISTRICTS WON BY KERRY, NOT 14: “All told, 63 Republicans in the 112th Congress will hold seats that President Obama carried in 2008 and, of that group, 13 will hold seats that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) also won in the 2004 presidential race.” (Chris Cillizza, “The Obama Republicans,” The Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog, 11/11/10)
Which is not to say that Republicans can shift into neutral and expect to coast to re-election, of course. We’re way too early in the cycle to start trying to predict what the results will be on Nov. 6, 2012. “But it’s pretty remarkable that we’re not hearing much talk about Democrats retaking the House in 2012,” Geraghty says.
And I would add that, if we take this as evidence of demoralization and disarray in Democrat ranks — combining it with Obama’s sagging poll numbers — this provides a strong argument against GOP leaders rolling over easy on the budget showdown.
UPDATE: Linked by The Lonely Conservative and welcome, Instapundit readers! Reports that Republican budget negotiators have settled for $33 billion in cuts — after initially promising $100 billion in cuts — are not exactly being applauded by Ace of Spades.