John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


2016 Is Right Around the Corner

Posted on November 5, 2014
Greg Walden Congressman.jpg

"Greg Walden Congressman" by United States Government - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Well, that was fun.

Now, on to the next election.

Republicans won a resounding victory, thanks to President Obama’s stunning incompetence.

They had a favorable map, a favorable wind at their backs, and they didn’t make many unforced errors.

Pat Roberts won, pretty easily as it turned out.  We didn’t need a run-off in Georgia.  Mitch McConnell won in a landslide (by his standards).

Those were the races that I kept hearing from my Democratic friends that were going to be competitive.  I never thought they would be, and they weren’t.

Republicans still might win in Virginia, they won in Iowa, and they almost won in New Hampshire.

They won in blue states, red states and purple states.

They lost some, but those weren’t unexpected losses.  Pennsylvania has been a disappointment for awhile and it turned out to be a crushing loss there in the Governor’s race.

President Obama was forced to campaign in two blue states, Illinois and Maryland, but despite his best efforts, his two close political allies, Pat Quinn and Anthony Brown, got trounced.

This was the perfect case of the voters finally saying enough is enough.  Enough taxes.  Enough government.  Enough incompetence.  Enough liberal non-sense.

Martin O’Malley thought he was going to be a Presidential contender.  Ha!

But enough about 2014.  This was predictable.  I predicted it several months ago.

The question is what will happen in 2016?

Will Republicans restore their brand enough, by governing effectively, to help their most vulnerable Senators up for re-election, or will they shut the government down, cause a Constitutional crisis, try to impeach the President and otherwise over-reach, clearing the way for a Democratic rebound and a Hillary Presidency?

Republicans have a delicate balancing act.

They don’t necessarily want the President to have such high approval ratings that the American people are going to want a third Obama term.

But they also don’t want to make it impossible for the party to stay in power in two short years.

Republicans held serve in this election cycle.  They did what they were supposed to do.

You have to give credit to Reince Preibus, the head of the Republican National Committee.  I betcha most people still don’t know the man with a unique name, the man who rebuilt the RNC, who modernized the technology of the building, raised a boatload of money, and helped to chart a path to victory.

Preibus would throw some red meat to the ravenous base on occasion, but he was also the force behind the document that plotted out how to grow that base.

Jerry Moran, the unsung hero of the Senatorial campaign and his partner Rob Portman, deserve credit for deftly getting the right candidates in the right places at the right time.  They were the ones who convinced Cory Gardner to run for the Senate.  They also backed Thad Cochran over a Tea Party challenger who would have made Todd Aiken look like a moderate.

Greg Walden, the House Congressional campaign chairman, improbably might have a challenge despite delivering more House Republicans to the chamber in 80 years.  Walden had to compete with Barack Obama on the fundraising front, but held his own in a difficult money-raising environment for the GOP.

I say difficult, because the NRCC isn’t the only game in town these days when it comes to rich donors.  In fact, it’s usually the last on the list, because it is very fashionable for the super wealthy to set up their own Super PACs.

Rich people used to buy yachts.  Now, they buy their own political organizations.

In any event, Walden’s Finance Chairman has been bitching that the Oregonian hasn’t been raising enough money, which I think it pretty rich in irony.   But I digress.  Walden did a great job, as evidenced by the fact that the GOP beat the over/under (which I established at 10), and now will have the most crowded caucus room since 1928.

What Greg Walden will be thinking about this morning is how do we keep Bob Dold, the Illinois Republican, and others like him in office in two years.

Dold, who represents the affluent Chicago suburbs, won in a tough race because the Illinois Democratic Party has run the state in the ground and because his constituents lost faith in Barack Obama’s leadership.

It won’t take much for those constituents to lose faith the Republican Party and in Dold, especially if they adopt the Ted Cruz strategy of more confrontational conservatism.

Republicans don’t have much time to make life easier for the Bob Dolds of the world.  They have to prove they can govern and govern competently.     And they have to do it soon.

2016 is right around the corner.