Friday, December 22, 2006

Thinking About Reelection

In a rather sad sign of today's political reality, House Democrats, having just won a majority in Congress, are already formulating a plan to stay in power after the 2008 elections.

It is the “incumbent retention program,” a detailed plan worked out after Democrats gained control of Congress to fortify the most politically shaky with plum committee assignments, prized bill sponsorship and an early start on fund-raising — all in preparation for their 2008 re-election campaigns.

Not sure why the NYT seemed to think that this is an unusual strategy. This was Karl Rove's trademark. But Dems campaigned as the anti-Rove's, so spending more time on politicking than on actual Congressional work might cause sour feelings among voters. Isn't that why they ditched the Republicans?

Nancy Pelosi is especially involved:

Our focus is to make sure that each member strengthens his or her standing back home by offering strategic advice and help,” said Brendan Daley, a spokesman for Mrs. Pelosi, who is planning weekly breakfasts with this group. “That can be legislative, message or outreach tuned into the needs of their district.”

Between early House campaigning and the looming beast that is the '08 presidential primaries and election, Dems need to make sure that trigger-happy voters do not get the message that political campaigns are more important than the reason they're now in power on The Hill.


At 10:15 AM, Blogger Mark said...

They did hold the House for 12 years, with a smaller number of reps.

It was the Iraq War, W and member scandals that lost them the House, not their focus on getting reelected.

Look at Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Robin Hayes (R-NC) for example, they both worked hard on their reelction bids early and eeked out victories.

Meanwhile, Jim Leach (R-IA) and Sue Kelly (R-NY) did not focus on the election until late...they lost.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Mark said...

ALSO, once these freshman get their names on bills as sponsors (as per the Pelosi plan), they'll be credited with 'work,' by the media and in their campaign lit. That is, regardless of their hand in authorship.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Political Buzz said...

Mark -
Good point concerning Wilson and Hayes.

Yes, while "focusing on getting reelected" didn't lose the midterms for the GOP, lots of polls showed that voters were fed up with the negativity and bipartisanship that comes out in constant campaigning.

And another voter beef was that the Republican Congress failed to accomplish anything. A lot of time can be spent on shining up a resume for an election. That's all part of why the GOP lost and why Dems need to be wary of this new strategy.

As for Sue Kelly...


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