As President Obama continues to shift the blame for his party’s gross irresponsibility by asserting falsely that House Republicans are putting party before country, the American people should be reminded that the Senate’s refusal to pass a budget is both deliberate and entirely political.
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported last summer that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to lead the Senate Democrats’ messaging operation…
Said a Democratic aide, “He led the fight in the Senate against releasing our budget. He backed the idea that a budget paints a giant target on your back unnecessarily when it’s not going to pass anyway.”
There has long been tension between Republican leaders and movement conservatives, but efforts to elect Republicans in 2010 are doing nothing to bring the sides together.
When Senator Arlen Specter switched parties, several prominent Republican leaders immediately urged Governor Tom Ridge, a Republican moderate, to run. It seems they weren’t content to support the more conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey — who was already in the race.
Five minutes after George Bush won re-election in 2004 and began talking about Social Security reform, the pundits lined up those Senate Republicans they expected to be in trouble in the 2006 midterm election.
Some things never change.
Five minutes after Barack Obama took the oath in January and began signing executive orders and expanding government, those same pundits began lining up the Senate Democrats they expect to be in trouble in 2010, Obama’s first midterm.
Historically, a president’s party loses seats in Congress in midterm elections, so in theory, 2010 should favor the GOP. Yet it is hard to imagine the GOP making significant gains because most seats held by Democrats facing re-election are in states that “went Obama” in 2008.
Colorado is one state showing signs of a possible GOP pickup. Democrat Michael Bennet, appointed to replace former Sen. Ken Salazar when he became Interior secretary, has little name recognition.
The last several weeks have not been kind to two senators — one Democrat, one Republican — who came to Congress together nearly three decades ago.
The Democrat is Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) who found himself caught up in the furor over bonuses granted to AIG executives, the latest in a string of negative stories for Dodd — Countrywide, the Irish cottage — that have badly imperiled his chances at reelection. And, Republicans have recruited a top-tier candidate to challenge Dodd in former Connecticut Rep. Rob Simmons.
The Republican is Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) who, as recently as a month ago, appeared to be headed to his easiest reelection race in recent memory. But, that was before his vote for the $787 billion economic stimulus bill drove former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) into a near-certain primary challenge. Specter, who narrowly defeated Toomey six years ago, quickly moved to shore up his ideological right flank — flip flopping to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. Should Specter win the primary — and that is very much up in the air — his change of position on EFCA could hurt his general election appeal in a state as labor-heavy as Pennsylvania.