Why Democrats Are Promoting Gingrich’s Worries Regarding the 2008 Elections


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee–the Democratic Party entity responsible for supporting House candidates–is happy that Newt Gingrich is not happy. On Tuesday, it zapped around a piece that Gingrich wrote for the conservative Human Events magazine, in which he cited the Democrat’s recent win in a congressional special election in Louisiana as one helluva warning for the Republican party. Gingrich wrote:

Saturday’s loss was in a district that President Bush carried by 19 percentage points in 2004 and that the Republicans have held since 1975.

This defeat follows on the loss of Speaker Hastert’s seat in Illinois. That seat had been held by a Republican for 76 years with the single exception of the 1974 Watergate election when the Democrats held it for one term. That same seat had been carried by President Bush 55-44% in 2004.

Gingrich notes that congressional Democrats lead congressional Republicans in generic polling by 18 points nowadays, “reminiscent of the depths of the Watergate disaster.” And bashing Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton ain’t gonna help the GOPers running for House and Senate seats:

The Republican brand has been so badly damaged that if Republicans try to run an anti-Obama, anti-Reverend Wright, or (if Senator Clinton wins), anti-Clinton campaign, they are simply going to fail.

This model has already been tested with disastrous results.

In 2006, there were six incumbent Republican Senators who had plenty of money, the advantage of incumbency, and traditionally successful consultants.

But the voters in all six states had adopted a simple position: “Not you.” No matter what the GOP Senators attacked their opponents with, the voters shrugged off the attacks and returned to, “Not you.”

So with congressional Republicans facing a possible “catastrophic election this fall,” what’s a GOPer to do? They must, Gingrich declares, “chart a bold course of real change.” What would that “real change” entail? Gingrich has a list of nine items, including a gas tax holiday (isn’t that old news already?), a moratorium on earmarks (which individually can be quite popular back home in the district), cutting the budget of the Census Bureau (an issue on the mind of so many Americans), implementing a spaced-based GPS-style air traffic control system (a good idea, or Beam me up, Scotty?), declare English the official language of government (which will surely help the party with Hispanic voters), and “remind Americans that judges matter” (for, obviously, most Americans have forgotten that).

Well, let’s just say that Gingrich is better on the diagnosis than on the prescription. Which is why Democratic political operatives are delightfully promoting his worries about the upcoming election.

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  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.