Note to Republicans: be afraid. Be very afraid.
When Democrats won a special election in March for former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s seat, an R+6 district the GOP had held for three decades, it was cause for a celebratory fuck you to Republicans who only four years ago taunted D’s with talk of a “permanent majority.” Last week, when the Dems picked up yet another blood-red seat, this time an R+8 Louisiana district the GOP had owned since 1974, Beltway Republicans appeared to turn on each other. But after last night’s Democratic pickup in Mississippi, it looks like the House Republican Caucus may be headed into every man for himself mode.
MS-01, where Democrat Travis Childers just beat Republican Greg Davis 52% to 48%, is an R+10 district that President Bush won with 62% of the vote in 2004, and the former incumbent won with 66% just a year and a half ago. And that’s after the cash-strapped NRCC sunk $1.3 million into the race on top of another million from Freedom Watch and the candidate himself.
The tried and true GOP tactics of race-baiting and fear-mongering just don’t seem to be working this cycle. The R’s saturated the media with the ads tying Childers to Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and yet the Democrat only increased his support since the previous round of voting a few weeks back. Running on a “get out of Iraq” message in a traditionally pro-military Deep South district, Childers earned a comfortable win over a credible and well-funded opponent.
This is what happens when a bitter electorate turns out in record numbers to say enough is enough. If Dems can win in an R+10 district they can win anywhere, a sentiment loudly expressed this morning in The Hill:
The sky is falling on House Republicans and there is no sign of it letting up.
The GOP loss in Mississippi’s special election Tuesday is the strongest sign yet that the Republican Party is in shambles. And while some Republicans see a light at the end of the tunnel, that light more likely represents the Democratic train that is primed to mow down more Republicans in November.
Be afraid, my Republican friends. Be very afraid.
UPDATE [LEE]: I thought I’d link to this quote from Paul Begala in 2006 about Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy since it’s appropriate:
“Yes, he’s in trouble, in that campaign managers, candidates, are really angry with him. He has raised $74 million and spent $64 million. He says it’s a long-term strategy. But what he has spent it on, apparently, is just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose. That’s not how you build a party. You win elections. That’s how you build a party.”