According to Chris Cilliza of The Fix, Charlie Cook, one of the best of the Democratic Party election handicappers, isn’t high at all on the chances of House Democrats of retaining the majority. Watch the video – he immediately says the same thing I’ve been saying – there is no “communication problem” with President Obama. Instead he’s sees what has happened to Obama and the Democrats as being “fundamental and total miscalculations” on their part.
Cook also finds it hard, after discussions with what he calls the brightest of House Dems, he finds it very hard to “come up with a scenario in which the Democrats don’t loose the House”.
Interesting comparision: Bush/Iraq = Obama/Health Care. Now, I don’t know if I’m as pessimistic as Cook seems to be (and trust me Cook knows this infinitly better than I do as he’s proven election after election), but it is certainly true that I think House Democrats will loose a significant number of seats and their easy majority will become a difficult one next January where they’ll actually have to take Blue Dogs seriously since it might be that bloc that provides the swing votes necessary for either side to have their way.
Cilliza finds another respected election handicapper who disagrees slightly with Cook – not with Democratic losses, just with the amount:
Stu Rothenberg, another noted political handicapper in Washington, has pegged Democratic House losses as between 24 and 28 seats. He writes: “We currently expect Republicans to fall short of the 40 seats they would need.”
In a polarized House, the loss of between 24 and 28 (I think it could actually be a little higher than that) is significant. The health care bill passed the House by 3 votes if my memory serves me correctly. As I point out above, controversial bills would have to be toned down and take a much more conservative tone to pass the House if those gains above are realized.
But to this point, all of the above is idle speculation. In terms of an election 9 months is an eternity. What I think will help cement either Rothenberg or Cook’s prognostications, however, is if the Democrats manage, by hook or crook, to pass health care legislation – especially with no Republican votes for it. Then I think Cook has it right. I think the voter’s wrath will be such that any name on the ballot with a “D” after it will be fair game.