Politico: Dems’ Vulnerable-Incumbent Protection Program

Good morning folks,

A few weeks ago we wrote that Senate Democrats were using the same playbook that House Republicans unsuccessfully used in 2006.

  • Just like Democrats today, Republicans argued that they would build off George W. Bush’s successful microtargeting and turnout operation.
  • Just like Democrats today, Republicans argued that the party’s considerable financial advantage would hold off a Democratic onslaught.
  • Just like Democrats today with the Koch brothers, Republicans tried to create a straw man out of George Soros and Moveon.org to rally our base voters.

Turns out Democrats are digging even deeper into the 2006 playbook. Politico’s Burgess Everett and Darren Goode report, “that Top Democrats are putting something special together for their Senate colleagues in tough races this year: a vulnerable-incumbent protection program. At-risk senators will get to beef up their back-home cred by taking the lead on bills and amendments tailored to their campaigns. And they won’t be stuck in the back row at news conferences but will be in front of TV cameras and taking center stage during Senate debates.”

Sound familiar? It should, House Republicans did the same in 2006, as this Roll Call story by Susan Davis and Erin Billings reveals. “Congressional Republicans are crafting a September strategy to highlight national security issues in hopes of boosting their Election Day prospects with a topic that is in the forefront of voters’ minds… Republicans believe the September agenda will hurt Democrats at the ballot box and force some of their vulnerable Members to vote with Republicans, revealing splits within their party.” Republican Leaders also allowed vulnerable House Members to bring their pet project (no pun intended) legislation to the floor, arguing that it’d help them in their home districts.

We probably don’t have to tell you that it didn’t work in 2006 just like it won’t work in 2014. Why? As NRSC Chairman Moran points out, “It’s hard to rebrand yourself overnight.” No matter what gimmick legislation Democrats give Mark Pryor, Jeanne Shaheen, Mary Landrieu, Mark Udall or John Walsh, it won’t change the fact that Democrats on the ballot have voted with President Obama on average 94% of the time, and of course every one championed ObamaCare (which remains very unpopular in each of their states).

The fact that Democrats are resorting to the 2006 House Republican playbook shows just how bad things have gotten for them. History has a way of repeating itself.

Seize the day,

Brad Dayspring

Brook Hougesen

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