As Democrats brace for a November wave that threatens their control of the House, party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority.
In the next two weeks, Democratic leaders will review new polls and other data that show whether vulnerable incumbents have a path to victory. If not, the party is poised to redirect money to concentrate on trying to protect up to two dozen lawmakers who appear to be in the strongest position to fend off their challengers…
To hold the line against Republicans, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, issued an urgent plea for members in safe districts to help their endangered colleagues by contributing money. She called out Democrats who were delinquent on paying their party dues and instructed members with no re-election worries to tap into a combined $218 million from their campaign accounts to help save their majority.
At least five of the 34 House Democrats who voted against their party’s health care reform bill are highlighting their “no” votes in ads back home. By contrast, party officials in Washington can’t identify a single House member who’s running an ad boasting of a “yes” vote — despite the fact that 219 House Democrats voted in favor of final passage in March…
It’s a far cry from where Democrats hoped they would be when they passed the landmark legislation in March. Many senior Democrats said last winter that the law’s popularity would increase as Americans were able to better understand the complex law and take advantage of its benefits.
But the public’s views on the legislation may have been more settled than anyone thought.
Bill Clinton strongly endorsed “independent” Staten Island Democrat Rep. Mike McMahon’s re-election bid yesterday — even saying it was OK for the incumbent to buck President Obama by voting against health-care reform.
“The one thing you got to say about this guy is he has been truly independent; he is not partisan,” Clinton said while stumping for McMahon at Wagner College.
“He has not voted for the president on every issue. On health care, for example, we New Yorkers have a special problem. We have a lot of immigrants here who are undocumented, and our hospitals claim real problems under this health-care bill,” Clinton added.
“They get it. There’s panic. There’s concern,” VandeHei said. “The reality for this administration stinks, politically and practically, when it comes to the economy. You’re not going to be able to change that 9.6-percent unemployment figure. You can’t get anything from Congress in the next couple of months.”…
Smith asked his guests to try to identify the source of the discontent: “From your experience on the Hill, have you heard any Democrats in private conversations say, ‘You know what? We went down the wrong road. We went after health care. We went after so many other things on the Obama agenda as opposed to, in the end of the day, it’s all about creating jobs?'”
“Not only have we heard that, but we’ve been hearing it for months,” said Cordes. “We heard it during the health care debate that dragged on for a year when the economy was so bad; they focused on health care and they focused on financial regulation.