Thursday, June 11, 2009

Can Rahm Emanuel Validate Eric Cantor's Prediction Of A 2010 GOP Landslide?


What passes for Inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom is clear: the first midterm election after the election of a president sees his party losing seats in Congress. And Democrats have plenty of very iffy seats-- seats narrowly won in basically, or even deeply, red districts. Take Travis Childers' northern Mississippi district (MS-1). He won the seat in a razor-thin 50/50 election. Although Obama only got 38% of the vote, a surge in African-American voting-- blacks make up about 26% of the district's population-- helped put Childers over the hump in what had become an open seat. Since getting into Congress, Childers has voted more like a Republican than any other Democrat in the House. Both on overall votes and on core issues, Childers has been a fairly dependable vote for John Boehner and Eric Cantor. Something tells me that huge African-American Democratic surge from last November isn't going to be there for Childers in 2010, just like it wasn't there last year for Don Cazayoux in Louisiana (who also got into office with African-American help and immediately commenced voting like a reactionary Republican). And there are dozens of seats in similar jeopardy where conservative Democrats like Childers-- Walt Minnick (Blue-Dog-ID), Bobby Bright (Blue-Dog-AL), Ann Kirkpatrick (Blue-Dog-AZ), Parker Griffith (Blue-Dog-AL), Glenn Nye (Blue-Dog-VA), Frank Kratovil (Blue-Dog-MD), Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-PA), Jason Altmire (Blue-Dog-PA), Chris Carney (Blue-Dog-PA), Harry Mitchell (Blue-Dog-AZ), Gabby Giffords (Blue-Dog-AZ), Baron Hill (Blue-Dog-IN), Bill Foster (D-IL), just to name some of the most obvious-- are counting on Republican and conservative independents to put them over in 2010.

Eric Cantor thinks the GOP is going to trounce these Democrats and take back control of the House. This despite a new Gallup poll, out today, that shows even Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have an unfavorable opinion of the GOP.
Almost 4 out of 10 (38%) Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have an unfavorable opinion of their own party, while just 7% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party. Additionally, a May 29-31 USA Today/Gallup poll shows that the top-of-mind images of the Republican Party among Republicans are considerably more negative than are the images of the Democratic Party among Democrats.

Let me inject two factors here: the Republican playbook for dealing with the political state of affairs and how that has worked historically, and Obama's Karl Rove, Rahm Emanuel. The Republican knee-jerk obstructionism is going over very badly. And they should have known. They're singing from the same hymn book that they used in the 1930s after Democrats took back Congress in the light of the Republican Party's Great Depression. Not one single GOP House member voted for Social Security-- not one. Instead everything FDR and the Democrats in Congress tried to do was greeted with shouts of "socialism," and absolute apoplectic hysteria by the right-wing noise machine. The result: in 1928 there were 270 Republicans and 164 Democrats in the House and in the Senate there were 56 Republicans and 35 Democrats. Over the course of the next 4 elections, the louder the Republicans screamed socialism and the more obstructionist they became, the more seats they lost. They lost seats in both houses in every election for a decade. By 1936 their 56 seat majority in the Senate was down to 17 seats and in the House they only had 88 left.

But, unlike FDR, Eric Cantor has the supremely overrated Rahm Emanuel as a tactician and foil. This morning Emanuel penned an OpEd in the Washington Post, making the case that vulnerable Democrats back Obama's promise to bailout European banks by guaranteeing a $108 billion loan to the IMF, something he had tacked onto the War Supplemental in the House of Lords. Travis Childers and Democrats in conservative districts cannot win re-election by voting for a costly bailout for European banksters. But Emanuel is dealing with him and other Democrats the same way he did when he pushed through the highly unpopular-- and extremely destructive-- NAFTA legislation for Bill Clinton. He's wheelin' and dealin'... and threatening. He'll let the vicious but loaded AIPAC monsters lose on you to finance a primary; he'll kill your (Childers' in this case) post office request. He has no intellectual argument beyond, don't undermine the promises Obama made to the G20 leaders. Many of those leaders had their heads handed to them in the Europeans elections this past weekend. Gordon Brown nearly lost his job entirely and his party lost control of every single local council in England-- equivalent to the Democrats losing every state legislature. Across Europe-- and including England-- actual fascists were elected by spouting right-wing populism, racism, xenophobia and a revulsion for bailing out banksters. And that's where Emanuel wants to drag the Democratic Party? Didn't he do enough damage to the party and to America with NAFTA?

I think President Obama should direct his staff to think about bailing out California instead, and let the Europeans borrow the billions of dollars they need directly from the Chinese and leave us out of it. We have-- largely because of corrupt hacks like Rahm NAFTA Emanuel-- enough problems right here at home.

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