There's a shift going on in how the parties are approaching the midterm congressional elections. Up until now, Democrats have been trying to nationalize the elections, while Republicans have been trying to localize them. The Democrats have been succeeding, as current polls show the GOP taking it on the chin; it seems that if elections were held today, the GOP would likely lose the House of Representatives. (I encountered a Democratic Member of Congress the other day discussing with lobbyists how she anticipated handling her subcommittee when she chairs it next year).
Well, now I think we're starting to see evidence that Republicans are accepting that the election has been nationalized, and that they're trying to frame the issues on which they are nationalized. I've noticed this first on immigration, where endangered Republican incumbents Charles Taylor and Thelma Drake (to name but two) are attacking their opponents for being soft on border control. I am sure that there are already others, and they will be many before the elections. I know of longtime GOP incumbents in both Ohio and Connecticut for example, who are shocked at the depth of feeling among constituents about immigration. This is true in lots of places around the country, and will lead many GOP incumbents to run ads on immigration. I would also not be shocked if the House GOP re-passes the Border Security bill in the last days before the election, to try to make it a central issue on election day: Democrats either hand the GOP a major victory, or stand in the way of border protection.
As I alluded to the other day, Republicans may try to tie Democratic congressional candidates to party leaders who oppose things like wiretaps, surveillance of terror financing, and the like. Now the Hotline notes that Tom Reynolds - the Republican campaign chief - is starting to do this:
Is NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds setting up what the fall nationalized (televised) GOP message is going to be with this attack on House Dem leader Nancy Pelosi: "As a New Yorker who witnessed first-hand the grievous destruction brought on this country by terrorists, I say to Leader Pelosi that she ought to be ashamed to have voted against doing everything possible to prevent such an attack. The wiretap provision of the PATRIOT Act has proven itself invaluable in fighting the Global War on Terror and Congresswoman Pelosi is on the record opposing it.
The GOP is likely to suffer serious losses in the elections. This may be an effective strategy for reducing them.
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