John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Faked Them Out

Posted on January 6, 2010




How ironic that as soon as Michael Steele, the erstwhile RNC Chairman, announced that the Republicans didn’t have a chance to capture the House, Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd announced that they were quitting the Senate?

Steele is brilliant.  His strategy must have been to fake them out.  Tell the Democrats that we don’t have a chance to win so they feel more comfortable in calling it quits.

Now, I understand that there is a difference between the House and the Senate.  But when guys like Byron Dorgan, who would have been pretty hard to beat, and guys like Chris Dodd, who wouldn’t been hard to beat no matter what the polls say, decide to pack it in, it has reverberations in the lower body.

The most obvious impact is the direct result of the House-Senate shuffle.

Should Earl Pomeroy, North Dakota’s lone Congressional member, decide he needs to upgrade his life and move to the upper chamber, he gives the GOP a golden opportunity.  Should Pomeroy run, he would leave an open seat in state that is becoming more and more Republican every day in the Age of Obama.

The same thing applies in Connecticut.  Should Chris Murphy decide to run, it opens up a seat that was held for a long time by Nancy Johnson, a moderate Republican.

But beyond the direct impact, Dorgan and Dodd’s decisions to quit give Republicans a boost throughout the nation, and send a signal to the Democrats that they are in deep, deep trouble.

And it couldn’t happen at a better time.  This is the critical moment where challengers decide whether it is a go or a no go.  This is the critical moment where challengers either get their funding or they don’t.  And this is the time where members of Congress decide whether they should make another run at it or decide that the relatively low pay and the grief to the family just isn’t worth it.

Many Democrats in tough districts, many of whom have been poorly treated by their Speaker, and many who don’t agree with the President’s vision for the country, will decide that it just isn’t worth it.

Several House Blue Dogs have already called it a day, and one decided to switch to a Republican Party that according to its own party chairman has no chance to take back the House.

I have been bullish on the Republicans taking back the House for about 6 months.  Obviously, I didn’t read Mr. Steele’s memo, nor was I briefed on his brilliant strategy to lull the Democrats into a false sense of security.

I get it now.  So, let me say for the record that I was wrong.  The Republicans don’t have a chance to take back the House.  There is nothing to see here.  Don’t worry, you Blue Dog Democrats.  You can feel free to leave now.  Everything is just fine and dandy for your team to stay in control.