Wednesday, May 14, 2008



I have a dream. It isn't as worthy or as grand as someone else's but it's my dream. It's based on the 1936 congressional elections. The reactionary, obstructionist Republicans were reduced to 16 seats in the U.S. Senate. And in the House the reactionary, obstructionist Republicans were reduced to 88 seats (which was 20%).

Unless this is your first time at DWT you can probably surmise that by joy at seeing the GOP ground into the dirt is tempered by the conservative nature of the Democrat who won. I expect he will be another Heath Shuler or Chris Carney tugging the House caucus to the right and frustrating the very impulses that gave him his victory last night. But we'll deal with that in due time. Today we need to remind ourselves that the vicious, racist Rovian strategy didn't work in the Republican heartland of the Old Confederacy. When Cazayoux beat Woody KKK-pecker in Louisiana last week the GOP said their strategy was working and that if they had only had more time their ads attempting to tie Cazayoux to Pelosi, Obama and Jeremiah Wright would have worked. They promised to make it work in Mississippi. On top of millions of dollars in negative TV ads in one of the most Republican bastions in America, they brought in the man with the magic touch, Dick Cheney-- actually two men with magic touches: Cheney and Rove, both campaigning furiously and publicly for Davis.

Their ads and their smears backfired in their faces as Childers took 54% of the vote. Obama had the last laugh:
"I want to congratulate Congressman-elect Travis Childers on winning this special election. By electing Travis in this traditionally overwhelmingly Republican district, the people of Mississippi voted to end the politics of division and distraction, and bring about real change. This is the third special election in recent months that Democrats have won in traditionally Republican areas-- an unmistakable sign that Americans want to make a clean break from the failed Bush policies of the past-- and are not looking for four more years of those failed policies from John McCain. I look forward to working with Travis in the months ahead to fix our economy, and make a difference in the lives of America's hardworking families."

NRCC chair Tom Cole (R-OK) would be have committed hara-kiri last night if he lived in Japan. It is an open question whether or not he'll be asked to step down immediately or be given a face-saving grace period. His statement last night didn't even attempt the kind of laughable spin they tried last week when Woody KKK-pecker lost.
“We are disappointed in tonight’s election results. Though the NRCC, RNC and Mississippi Republicans made a major effort to retain this seat, we came up short.

“Tonight’s election highlights two significant challenges Republicans must overcome this November. First, Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as
conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority. Though the Democrats’ task will be more difficult in a November election, the fact is they have pulled off two [three] special election
victories with this strategy, and it should be a concern to all Republicans.

“Second, the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short.

“I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial
resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election.”

I wonder if he sent that out to his members with packets of kleenex. The Republicans went all out to save their asses after the ignominious defeats in Louisiana and Illinois. Aside from Cheney and Rove they sent in a whole army of big name wingnuts to campaign with Davis: Governor Haley Barbour, Senator Trent Lott, Senator Thad Cochran, Senator Roger Wicker, Mike Huckabee... And, after being embarrassed campaigning in Illinois with the pathetic Oberweis, McCain (as well as George and Laura Bush) recorded automated messages that went to every Republican household in the district.

MS-01 has a PVI of R+10. Let's look at some of the Republican-held seats in California. Dan Lungren's seat is R+7. Elton Gallegly's is R+5. David "Walking Dead" Dreier is R+4. Jerry Lewis, who still has managed to evade indictment, has a district with a PVI of R+9, not quite as solidly Republican as the one they lost last night. Gary Miller's, like the Mississippi district is exactly R+10; Ken Calvert R+6; Mary Bono R+3; Dana Rohrabacher R+6; Brian Bilbray R+5; and the seat Duncan Hunter is trying to leave to Duncan, Jr is R+9. I better none of these galoots slept too well last night-- or maybe they're still in their dream state, imagining that hiring a p.r. consultant to come up with a hackneyed slogan associated with suicide drugs will save them from what's is headed their way.


This big story in the morning's Hill couldn't be more ominous, literally: "The sky is falling on House Republicans and there is no sign of it letting up." That was the first paragraph. The second, talking about a party "in shambles," offers that the light some Republicans claim they see at the end of the tunnel is actually "the Democratic train that is primed to mow down more Republicans in November."

Until this morning no one but DWT has been willing to publish anything about NRCC chairman Tom Cole's impending "resignation." Today, even his Inside the Beltway drinking buddies are mentioning it in their coverage.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will be under tremendous pressure to do something dramatic after the trio of losses. Boehner has publicly clashed with Cole over staffing and lackluster fundraising numbers but despite their differences, their political futures are tied together.

Significant gains by House Democrats this fall would likely lead to Boehner and Cole losing their leadership posts. Travis Childers (D), who narrowly defeated Greg Davis (R) on Tuesday, will push the Democrats' total in the House to 236 members. With six months to go until the elections, political analysts and observers are suggesting Democrats could reach 250 in the next Congress.

Some Republican conference members have criticized Boehner for not effectively managing Cole.

GOP strategists and lobbyists have also questioned Boehner's leadership. One Republican source noted that, after Boehner called for staffing changes at the NRCC, Cole refused and triumphed in the showdown.

Former Republican leaders, such as Reps. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and Tom DeLay (Texas), would not have backed down, the source said. Boehner, in fact, later rewarded Cole with a promise to be on the Appropriations Committee next year.

... Someone needs to be held accountable for the losses, GOP sources say, and that could be Cole. Removing him would require a vote by the House Republican Conference.

Longtime GOP strategists could not recall a time when an NRCC chairman was ousted in the midst of a cycle.

"It's too late," a Republican lobbyist said, adding that few, if any, Republicans want to take over the beleaguered NRCC.

A GOP strategist differed, saying, "It can't get any worse."

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At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doonesbury had the best riposte to the old "light at the end of the tunnel" boast--"When you've dug yourself into a hole, why must you insist upon calling it a tunnel?"

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The catastrophic damage that conservatives have caused over the last several years is far beyond differences in political ideology; in hundreds of cases, it was outright criminal.

My fondest hope is that, if the Dems win the election, an absolute flood of prosecutions results.

It may not be pc, but yes, I want revenge. But even more important, I want examples made of them, so that such horrible things never, ever happen again. And I want not just lengthy prison terms, but monetary damages. Make them pay back some of the money they have cost the country.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger danps said...


At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... Someone needs to be held accountable for the losses, GOP sources say, "
Aren't these bush and cheney? Why cole or boehner?

At 9:05 AM, Blogger danps said...

Oh and by the way I posted on the GOP's peril last week. I hardly feel like a prophet though. The signs are pretty obvious.

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Howie, if this were Japan, if his party lost an election, Tom Cole would take responsibilty by steping down as NRCC chair. But he won't.

If you look at crazy right wing blogs like RedState and Right in Mississippi, you're going to find people who are absolutely clueless. They have no explanation for why Davis lost. They do want to remove their current party leaders, but they want to replace them with even more reactionary whackos like Mike Pence and John Shaddegg. Until they realize their party must start moving left rather than right, they're going to keep losing. And they deserve it. It's a small price to pay for the harm their party has knowingly done.

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well megaman_x, lets hope their delusions of granduer (and their same rhetoric) will last long enough to allow us to see some real change in November.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonerful, just wonerful!

(thx for the Platters Howie).


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