Democrats have begun bragging that Barack Obama and other party leaders have begun energizing their base and ramping up GOTV efforts, pronouncing that they will hold the House and Senate, and that January 2011 will see advancements on the Pelosi-Obama agenda.  Their money speaks louder than their words, however, as Reid Wilson reports at Hotline.  Democrats have begun retrenching by cutting off ad buys in districts previously thought competitive and started showering money on incumbents previously thought safe:

The majority party is slowly starting to open its checkbook, spending millions of dollars on hard-hitting advertisements and mail campaigns aimed at undermining Republicans around the country. But the districts in which it is advertising were once considered safe, indicating that it is Republicans who have had the most success in putting seats in play.

This week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running ads in seats held by Reps. Bill Delahunt (Mass.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Phil Hare (Ill.), Bill Foster (Ill.),Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), and John Salazar (Colo.). In each district, Democrats won re-election by significant, if not overwhelming, margins in 2008. Now, Democrats view every one of those seats as endangered. …

Meanwhile, much more vulnerable Democrats, who face much better-funded Republican challengers, are seeing their ad buys cut, a clear sign that Democrats believe spending money on their behalf is a waste of resources. Earlier this week, Democrats cut ad buys in districts held by Reps. Betsy Markey (Colo.), Harry Teague (N.M.), Chet Edwards (Texas), and Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), and in open seats being vacated by Reps. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.) and Dennis Moore (Kan.).

Only one reason exists to cut off ad buys, which is that the expenditure won’t make a difference in the race.  That means that either Democrats are confident that they’ll win in these districts, or admitting defeat and reprioritizing where they think they can make a difference.  It also means that the heretofore safe seats in places like Illinois, Massachusetts, and and Colorado have become threatened — and that wouldn’t be happening without a massive, national GOP wave.  Democrats can spin about base turnout and loyalty all day long, but money talks and spinmeisters walk.

The addition of Salazar and the dropping of Markey seems especially interesting.  Markey was supposed to be competitive this cycle.  CO-4 is an R+6 district, however, located in eastern Colorado, a mainly rural area.  Unlike Markey, Salazar is not a freshman; he has served since 2004, when he beat an incumbent in this R+5 district encompassing most of the western part of the state while George Bush carried Colorado on the way to his re-election.  He’s also the brother of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and had been considered an up-and-comer in a state that was turning bluish-purple until this cycle.  A loss in this district would be a serious slap in the face to the Obama White House.

The addition of the open seat of Bill Delahunt (MA-10) is even more striking.  This district represents most of the Cape Cod area and has a Cook rating of D+5.  In one of the bluest states in the country, this practically defines “safe” for Democrats in most cycles.  Trouble is brewing in this race, as Guy Benson reports, and it’s not just the sudden resonance of the Jeff Perry campaign, either.  It comes from a late-breaking conflict of interest story between Democratic nominee Bill Keating, a local district attorney, and political donations from the defense attorney of a attempted-murder suspect he’s trying:

Norfolk District Attorney William Keating has accepted campaign donations from a lawyer representing a man charged by Keating’s office with attempting to gun down an off-duty firefighter last year.Keating, A Democrat running for Congress in the 10th district, received two donations from attorney John McGlone in August totaling $1,545, according to an Associated Press review of campaign records. McGlone also co-hosted a Quincy fundraiser for Keating in August.

McGlone represents Robert O’Connell, charged with attempted murder after being arrested for shooting Milton firefighter Joseph Fasano during a confrontation. Keating’s office is prosecuting O’Connell.

Keating’s campaign did not immediately respond when asked for comment. McGlone also did not immediately return a call.

Guy puts this in perspective:

Wow. If this story is accurate, Keating has accepted campaign donations from, and has held a political fundraiser with, an attorney for a man his office is currently prosecuting for attempted murder. Even if that is technically legal, it reeks of a legal ethics violation, and at the very least, demonstrates disqualifyingly poor judgment on Keating’s part. This AP report could prove to be a decisive factor in this razor-close race.

Democrats must believe so, too, if they’re building their firewall around MA-10.