GOP 2008 Strategy: Pretend To Care
by Todd Beeton, Fri Jun 27, 2008 at 10:31:04 AM EDT
After their third special election loss in a row, Republican House leaders set up a 6-member panel to figure out what Republicans were doing wrong and what they need to do better moving forward to improve their chances in November. On Thursday, House leaders met to discuss their findings.
This observation struck me as particularly, well, spot on:
While the review said the national political environment was largely to blame for the losses, it also said Republican candidates themselves were less than optimal and their campaigns were flawed.
Understatement of the year.
And then there was this:
House Republicans lost three recent elections when customary campaign themes failed to sway voters and their candidates could not overcome the "negative perception of the national party," according to an internal review that underscores the potential for widespread losses this fall.
Umm, ya think?
But what's even richer is their prescription for what ails them:
GOP candidates on the ballot in November must show "deep empathy towards the voters" and rely on local rather than national issues, according to the report, ordered by party leaders after the loss of formerly safe seats in Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi that stunned the rank and file.
In other words, pretend to give a shit. But that is a particularly uphill battle when all evidence is to the contrary. After all, it's the Republicans who vote against expanding healthcare for poor children, against college benefits for returning veterans, against an increase in the minimum wage and against the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for those hardest hit by the economic downturn. They actually don't care and voters know it.
What makes this even sweeter is that Democrats chose yesterday, the day the Republicans were wallowing in their own failure, to shoot a warning shot across the bow:
House Republicans on Thursday reviewed the defeats as Democrats signaled an intention to spend heavily in three competitive seats in New York, Oregon and Colorado. Officials said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had reserved a combined $4 million worth of television advertising time.
The races in question:
The DCCC has reserved $2.1 million for advertising for a seat in New York City in which Republican Rep. Vito Fossella intends to retire. Fossella, who is married with children, recently acknowledged fathering a child out of wedlock.
Democrats also said they will spend $1.2 million in the Portland, Ore., area, hoping to hold the seat of Democratic Rep. Darlene Hooley, who is retiring.
The third target is the seat held by Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado, where Democrats said they had reserved nearly $700,000 in advertising time.
Flaunting our financial advantage and kicking them while they're down. Love it.