Sunday, November 22, 2009

The McDonnell And Deeds Strategies Could Cleanse The House Democratic Caucus Of Its Worst Elelments


GOP Establishment worried this might not be a good strategy for 2010 elections

Yesterday Politico reported that Republicans believe they've found a way to win elections next year-- the McDonnell strategy.
The shorthand: run on economic policy, downplay divisive cultural issues, present an upbeat tone, target independent voters and focus on Democratic-controlled Washington—all without attacking President Barack Obama personally.

It’s an approach that elected Bob McDonnell to the Virginia governorship earlier this month... McDonnell ran with a smile.

“Winning candidates don’t go chasing down rabbit trails and they’re not shrill and they’re not accusatory,” said the Mississippian and former Republican National Committee chairman.

With the struggling economy on the minds of voters, McDonnell focused his message on fiscal issues from the campaign’s outset, touting a bumper sticker-friendly slogan: “Bob’s for Jobs.”

When his rival, Democrat Creigh Deeds, seized upon McDonnell’s graduate school thesis—a document that appeared hostile to working women and gays—the Republican kept to his economic arguments.

In an interview, McDonnell recounted his strategy.

“I never shied away when I got attacked on pro-life-- I said, ‘Yeah I’m pro-life, I’ve governed myself that way for 18 years [in the political arena] and I’m going to be a pro-life governor,” he said. “Now let’s talk about jobs and the economy. So it was more a matter of focus, not a matter at all of backtracking on things that we believed in.”

We'll see how well that goes over with the now dominant Glenn Beck/Limbaugh/teabagger/Sarah Palin wing of the Republican Party. In fact, I seem to recall that McDonnell went out of his way to keep Palin out of Virginia during the campaign. But what Republicans are missing is that McDonnell's benign smile that hid his extremism alone didn't win them Virginia's governor's mansion. That also took a Democratic candidate as awful as Creigh Deeds with a strategy of his own.

For Republicans to win next year, they need to hide their extremism and they need candidates as bad as Deeds who effectively disincentivize Democratic voters. When Deeds stood up and debated McDonnell and adopted his reactionary promise-- to opt out of the public option-- he ended whatever chance he had to win. He has already gone so far along a conservative path meant to lure Republicans that he didn't have much chance by then anyway. Democrats believe in that "hope" and "change" thing and they're not likely to turn out in big numbers just because some old man spewing reactionary policies has a "D" next to his name.
Republicans with less sterling credentials among the party’s Christian conservative base than McDonnell could have a more difficult time downplaying the issues that animate so many GOP activists.

Nor is it certain that other candidates will enjoy the sort of yawning disparity in energy as hungry and out-of-power Republicans did in Virginia this year.

McDonnell conceded he had better terrain to run on, describing an “enthusiasm gap [that] was 180 degrees different from last year when Republicans were on the short end.”

But he took partial credit for tamping down enthusiasm for his Democratic rival—and in doing so suggested a tactic for how his party could split the opposition in similarly purple states next year.

“We put our opponent in such a box on state issues like taxes and federal issues like [the Employee Free Choice Act] and cap-and-trade that he was kind of out carved out in no man’s land,” McDonnell boasted. “So I think we actually created to some degree the lack of enthusiasm for the other side because he was never really appealing to his base.”

By voting against health care and voting against choice, conservative Democrats are exposing themselves to their newly attentive constituents. Blue Dogs and fellow travelers like Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA), Parker Griffith (Blue Dog-AL), Artur Davis (D-AL), Ike Skelton (D--MO), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), John Boccieri (D-OH), Bart Gordon (Blue Dog-TN), Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN), John Tanner (Blue Dog-TN), Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS), Harry Teague (D-NM), Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA) voted both for Stupak's anti-choice amendment and against the healthcare reform bill. They'll all have an especially hard time getting re-elected unless Republicans and teabaggers destroy each other the way they did in NY-23 earlier this month.

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At 6:39 AM, Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Don't forget Ben Chandler, D-KY6. He was stupid enough to not only vote for Stupak and against health care reform, but to blatantly lie in attempting to justify them.

He's already drawn a strong repug challenger, a "Democrats who will never vote for Ben Chandler again" facebook page and serious talk about a primary challenge.

He's gonna lose next year, one way or another.

At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

d.w.t. is b_e_s_t!
too bad youse guys aren't running the dccc & dscc....
the most awful aspect of the past 11 months is how pres. obama has _squandered_ the _bully pulpit_ to make a really good argument for Public Option... if not single payer.
He could have just gotten those _denied_ medical care by insurance industry "death panels," or the family members of loved ones who have died from lack of medical access (45,000 per year, 17,000 of whom are children!) and paraded them before the nation, using that WH bully pulpit.
the president could have said, "we are going to expand Medicare to cover all those over age 50 immediately - taking the most costly segment of the population not already covered by Medicare - and make Medicare an "opt in" alternative for those who want to pay, starting at $5,000 per year for a family of 4" (or whatever amount).
But instead, the president, his advisors, and the Blue Dogs __surrendered_ the Bully Pulpit to the screamers, the shouters, the gun-toters, and the industry & lobbyists.
Hopefully, in the future ActBlue, DWT, FDL, MoveOn, & others can keep gettin' better at exposing the Blue Dogs (who until recently were called "YELLOW dogs" as in Southerners who hated the party of Lincoln would say, "I'd rather lie down with a tick-infested yellow dog cur, than vote Republican") as the corporate bribe-taking DINOs they are... and start talking up the "We Americans LOVE Medicare, Security, FDIC insurance on our bank accounts, and other LIBERAL programs" agenda more forcefully

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Yellow Dog:
What's even worse was that Chandler was being talked about for a long time as a challenger to Bunning. It's part of the reason he supposedly stayed away from challenging Miss McConnell. The one guy I can't understand who voted against both was Skelton. The dude isn't going to get defeated. So why didn't he vote for the final bill?


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