Campaign 2010

Jun 15, 2004

More Than Rhetoric

Roll Call:

With two special election victories under their belts and “generic” ballot polling tilted heavily in their favor, House Democrats will convene a Caucus-wide meeting today aimed at convincing their rank-and-file Members that winning back control is now a plausible proposition.

The centerpiece of this effort will be a presentation by targeting guru Mark Gersh that casts 2004 as a “trend election” based on continued feelings of economic insecurity, particularly among rural voters.

While Democrats have yet to predict that this year will bring the kind of “wave” election that swept Republicans into the House majority in 1994, there is a growing belief in the party that the combination of voter uncertainty about the foreign and domestic spheres will ensure a sustained wind at the backs of their candidates this fall.

Gersh will appear at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) weekly “Leader’s Luncheon” along with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Matsui (Calif.) to make that case.


Bringing in Gersh is an attempt to show Members that winning back the majority is more than just rhetoric by the leadership, according to one knowledgeable Democratic aide.

“We want Members to know tangibly this is really doable,” said Matsui. “The goal is to let Members know that other people are thinking the same thing we’re thinking.”

National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Carl Forti dismissed the possibility of Democratic House control as a “half-baked theory.”

“All of this is predicated on ‘if’ it is a trend year,” said Forti. “Right now there is no sign that this is going to be a trend year.”

Nonetheless, House Democrats are increasingly energized, and Pelosi is hoping for full Caucus attendance today; she has been working hard to ensure that more than just the usual suspects attend the meeting, aides said Monday.

At the gathering Pelosi will make a renewed push for Member involvement in both message efforts and fundraising, according to several informed Democratic sources.

“To get everybody there and get them on board requires repeated efforts,” said one House Democratic leadership aide.

Previewing his remarks Tuesday, Gersh said that recent generic ballot polls showing Democrats with leads varying from 9 to 19 points, coupled with the special election victories of Reps. Ben Chandler (Ky.) and Stephanie Herseth (S.D.), convinced him that “it is absurd to argue that [Democratic control] can’t happen.”

We can only do this with the resources, and since we’ve passed up a number of Hard Sell Mondays recently, allow us a very hard sell now.

While an individual race might not compare, controlling the House as majority is arguably every bit as important as the White House.  The majority sets the agenda, controlling what bills go through, what amendments get heard and added, and has the responsibility for oversight over the executive.  You have seen what Tom DeLay and company have done with these powers - it’s like Karl Rove’s Id run amock.  Now imagine what Nancy Pelosi could do with it.

If we can go into the fall outstripping the NRCC financially, they will literally pee their pants. 

Help us out.

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