It seems that the GOP is setting its sights on some first and second term House Democrats who they see as being vulnerable. In particular, they’re looking at the new members in traditionally red districts who voted for the energy bill.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is planning to air TV and radio commercials and unleash robocalls against Democrats who hail from districts that could be adversely affected by the narrowly passed legislation, are GOP-leaning or both.
Those likely to find themselves with targets on their back after the 219-212 vote: freshman Reps. Harry Teague of New Mexico, Betsy Markey of Colorado, John Boccieri of Ohio, Thomas Perriello of Virginia and Alan Grayson of Florida and second-termer Zack Space of Ohio.
Given all the talk of funerals for the Republican Party, this may sound like a plan with limited prospects, but is it so far fetched? Taking a look at the latest Rasmussen Presidential tracking poll, Barack Obama seems to be doing pretty well at first glance. 54% of Americans at least somewhat approve of the job he’s doing so far. Under those numbers, though, is another interesting trend. Rasmussen also records the Presidential Approval Index, which now sits at negative two. This measurement takes the number of people who strongly approve of the President’s performance and subtracts from it the number who strongly disapprove. That number has been slowly but steadily sliding over the last month, finally dipping below zero. So there are now less people who are wildly enthusiastic about Obama than the ones who are really upset with his performance.
Then again, some softening of numbers is typical of any presidency after the initial honeymoon period. But how will this relate to the overall performance of the Democrats and their prospects for 2010? The newest Congressional Performance poll has somewhat more dire news for the party of the donkey. Only 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, shockingly down from the already dismal 23% approval rating they managed in May. Here are a few more choice statistics for you:
Only 21% of voters say that, during the past year, Congress has passed anything that will significantly improve life in America. Most (52%) say it has not.
Seventy-three percent (73%) now say members of Congress are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping people while 14% say the legislators rate helping people as the priority.
Voters are evenly divided on the question of whether most members of Congress are corrupt. Thirty-five percent (35%) believe they are, while 37% say they are not. But 29% aren’t sure.
In the last cycles, Congressional Democrats could put up some sort of damage control barrier to such numbers. They initially had only a very slim margin of control, and there was a Republican in the White House who could still veto any of their efforts. Now, however, the real game has begun. It seems inevitable that, sooner or later, Al Franken will take his seat and the Dems will reach the magic number of 60 in the Senate. They have one of their own in the White House ready to sign anything they send his way. If they can’t convince the American people that they are actively working to improve their lot this time, expect Democrats to get the same heave ho we gave the GOP during the last two rounds.
Sadly, Democrats may have a life preserver to grab for, even though it will eventually turn into an anchor. Nearly 3/4 of the voters seem to have decided they want a “public option” in pending health care reform legislation. It’s been one heck of a sales job by the Democrats and they’ve obviously gotten people on board. If they manage to somehow pass it, that measure may be exactly what they need to bolster their numbers a bit and help out in the 2010 election.
It should take some time to implement such a plan, and then, presumably, it will take even longer before the full effects to be felt. In that way, government run health care might carry Pelosi’s crew right past 2012. Then, of course, when such folly slowly begins to erode the quality of American health care to the levels of Canada, or perhaps Nairobi, the angry citizens will likely go back to playing ping pong with Congress and hand control back over to the GOP.
Unfortunately, once a government funded program like that is in place it’s harder to get rid of than herpes, so we should be in for decades more of the two parties trading the majority office back and forth. I only hope my health holds out long enough to munch some popcorn and watch it all happen.