Rahm Emanuel 2005: Our gubernatorial wins in NJ and Virginia are huge

Heh. No doubt the RNC response was to insist that they were merely local races signifying nothing about the national mood.

But Rahm was right that time, wasn’t he?

[L]ooking back at First Read’s coverage the day after the 2005 New Jersey and Virginia contests, we had forgotten that Rahm Emanuel — then chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and now White House chief of staff — had called us to argue the very point Republicans are now making: that the two gubernatorial contests say something about the upcoming midterms.

Here’s what we wrote then:

Democratic House campaign committee chair Rahm Emanuel, calling First Read immediately after Kaine’s and Corzine’s victories were announced, argued that it’s clear Democratic voters were already energized earlier in the year when Democrat Paul Hackett nearly won a traditionally GOP-leaning Ohio House district. “I think that’s even more true today.” He also pointed out that the mayors of Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Paul, MN were all losing. “A lot of incumbents are losing to change,” he said (although he neglected to mention that these three mayors are Democrats, though the one from St. Paul endorsed Bush last year).

This makes two appearances in less than a week by the Ghost of Spin Past. Remember how, in 2006, Ned Lamont’s primary win over Lieberman was supposedly a glorious triumph of “people-powered politics” by plucky grassroots activists over a party figurehead who didn’t represent their values? Frank Rich dumped on critics at the time for their “hysterical overreaction” to Lamont’s win; fast forward three years and the same guy is screeching about tea-partiers’ “Stalinist” purge in NY-23. I hope MoveOn’s threat to challenge Blue Dogs in the primaries next year is for real, just because I can’t wait to see how Rich is planning to square the circle. Exit question: Emanuel, of course, was the architect of the Dems’ 2006 congressional takeover, a strategy based on running centrists in purple districts. Will his Republican counterpart next year have the same latitude?

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David Strom 8:41 PM on January 30, 2023