"No Safe Seats"
by Todd Beeton, Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 11:36:35 AM EDT
As we all know, reading the blogs is like getting the paper three days, months, or even years early. But lately it's also like reading Republican talking points months in advance, at least as it pertains to Republican chances is November.
In March, after Democrat Bill Foster won Dennis Hastert's old seat in congress, Markos wrote the following in a piece entitled No Seat Safe For GOP in The Hill:
The message of 2008 so far is that no Republican seat is safe this November. A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) memo detailed the GOP's dire picture: "[Eighty] percent of the Republican open and Republican incumbent seats the DCCC is targeting this cycle have better Democratic performances than Illinois-14." That percentage encompasses 40 of the Democrats' 50 top targets.
And in May, after the Democrats won 2 more special elections in deep red Louisiana and Mississippi, Howie Klein wrote a post entitled IN NOVEMBER THERE WILL BE NO SAFE REPUBLICAN SEATS at Down With Tyranny in which he tells us about a dream he has:
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%).
What's funny is that, despite the GOP's laughably defiant refusal earlier this year to acknowledge that the loss of special elections in red districts DOES portend bad things to come in November, they've now embraced what was once a progressive blogger talking point. They're really making it their own.
Remember this admission by the NRCC from back in June?
Karen Hanretty, communications director for the NRCC, reacted to the private report by acknowledging the difficulties confronting her party.
"This is a challenging environment," she said. "Any Republican running for office has to run basically on an independent platform, localize the race and not take anything for granted. There are no safe Republican seats in this election."
And here's NRSC spokesman Scott Bensing on Monday speaking about how worried they are about Jim Slattery's challenge to Sen. Pat Roberts:
"We have no safe seats right now...In a normal election year, we would not be concerned at all. But those are the cards we're dealt. We're not taking any states for granted."
But, of course, the idea of no safe Republican seats is much more than a talking point for progressive bloggers, it's been a defining goal that's been central to the 50-state strategy as far back as 2004 when Chris Bowers wrote this call to action:
In the 2004 election, Democrats contested 398 House seats, even though there are 435 House seats. [...]
Most, but not all, of these districts [ignored by Democrats] have horrible demographics for Democrats. I freely admit that had Democrats run in these districts, they all would probably have lost, and many, if not most, would probably have failed to come within 20%. However, even knowing this, I have had enough of the argument that even spending time to find a sacrificial lamb to run in these districts is a waste of Democratic Party resources. The fact is that for around $360,000, one-quarter the cost of a competitive congressional district, we could have found a candidate for each of these districts and raised $10,000 for that candidate's campaign. That $360,000 would have been the best $360,000 the Democratic Party would have spent at any level this entire election cycle. Combined throughout these districts, it probably would have resulted in another 1-2 million votes for Democrats for Congress. And that is just this election cycle and just in those congressional elections.
We need a candidate on every congressional ballot, period. When it comes to the House, 2004 is now a lost cause. However, starting in 2006, we must never let this happen again. I say we start by recruiting T-Mac for the NY-25, and build an infrastructure that guarantees no congressional district will ever be left behind again.
So when you hear a Republican lamenting that there are no safe seats in November, remember that it's no accident, it's a direct result of the ethic that has propelled us forward for several years now. That's our talking point, hell that's been our mission, and now it's a reality acknowledged by even the GOP.