More bad news for GOP Inc.

The one and only bright spot for House Republicans of late has been the ongoing primary battle between Democratic Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. NRCC chair Tom Cole had fantasized out loud about a “death fight” between Obama and Clinton that would tear the Democrats down, sweep Sen. John McCain into the White House, and with him produce the kind of presidential coattails that could carry House Republicans to victory in November.

But with even official Republican spokesman Tim Russert declaring Obama the presumptive nominee after Clinton’s disappointing showing in North Carolina and Indiana, Cole’s daydream is fading fast, and his caucus is beginning to wake up to the daunting challenges they face this November.

On Monday, former Speaker Newt Gingrich launched a broadside against Cole and the rest of the House Republican leadership, warning that the party faced a “catastrophic collapse” if they didn’t immediately change course in this political environment “reminiscent of the depths of the Watergate disaster.” And yesterday Cole himself added to the gloom, warning members that the NRCC doesn’t have enough money to “save them” in November:

“It was a pretty stern line that he took with us,” said one House Republican.

Cole, on the defensive in the wake of special election losses in Louisiana and Illinois, pointed his finger Tuesday at his Republican colleagues, telling them that they had been too stingy in helping fund party efforts.

[...] Cole’s overall message was clear, said members who sat through the meeting: “If you’re not out doing your own work, and you’re waiting for the NRCC to come in at the last minute and save you, it ain’t gonna happen.” That’s how one lawmaker characterized Cole’s talk, adding that the NRCC is “not going to have the resources” to help all members “and Democrats will have a lot more money.”

That’s bad news for Republicans like Dave Reichert, who yesterday found himself on yet another top-ten list of “Most Vulnerable Incumbents,” this time in the pages of the highly respected (and subscription-only) Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call:

Dave Reichert (R-Wash.)
It’s tough to go from hero cop to endangered incumbent in such a short stretch of time, but that’s the former King County sheriff’s fate in a suburban Seattle district that is steadily becoming more Democratic. Reichert still has a reservoir of good will to draw from as he fights off Democrat Darcy Burner for the second straight cycle. But Burner has become a more polished and confident campaigner — and has outpaced the incumbent on the fundraising front for the past few quarters.

Actually, she’s outpaced Reichert in every fundraising quarter since declaring her candidacy last year, and there’s no reason to expect that trend to reverse itself. Reichert’s never had a reputation in Congress as a hard worker, either as a legislator or a fundraiser, and he’s finding it particularly difficult to raise money now that his party is firmly entrenched in the minority. Not that Reichert has ever been a stellar performer, relying on multi-million dollar bailouts from the NRCC to carry him to victory in each of his two previous elections… bailouts that Cole warns might not be available this time around.

The fact is, even well-larded lobbyists balk at throwing good money after bad, and recent special election losses could dry up resources for the NRCC. Back in December Cole was almost cheerful as money finally started to pour in after Republicans successfully defended a couple seats in Virginia and Ohio, telling staffers:

“I’ve seen more lobbyists this morning than I’ve seen in four months,” he said. The lobbyists were passing out checks, he told them gleefully. “I’ve got one in my pocket from a guy I ran into in the street.”

But I’m guessing Cole’s pockets are pretty empty these days, now that a spate of recent special elections haven’t gone his way. And that’s gotta be bad news for vulnerable incumbents like Dave Reichert.

Comments

  1. 1

    Daddy Love spews:

    a “death fight” between Obama and Clinton that would tear the Democrats down, sweep Sen. John McCain into the White House, and with him produce the kind of presidential coattails that could carry House Republicans to victory in November.

    Talk about living in a fantasy…

  2. 2

    GBS spews:

    The political pendulum has swung as far to the right as it is going to swing. It reached its peak in 2006 and, while if feels like it’s still way up there if you’re a hardcore Republican, the truth is everyone has felt the momentum switch and the pendulum has just begun to swing to the left. The difficulty for the Republicans is that there is no stopping the momentum shift. NONE. The only thing left to see is how fast and how far to the left it’s going to swing. This swing is going to be worse than the Watergate fallout, or when the Republicans lost control of congress in the 50’s. This is going to be a severe political swing to the left.

    While the Republican brand won’t “go away” it will be completely neutered and castrated in November. The only thing left for Republicans is to try and figure out how to rebuild their message and their political leadership because they are all so tainted by blindly following George W. Bush and his failed presidency.

  3. 3

    "Hannah" spews:

    Why still no official announcement from the Hillary camp yet?

    Obama is in! He needs to really release his plan for troop withdrawal (as Hillary’s was 60 days) and economic fixes in the immediate future…we all know McCain’s idea of fixing the economy…HA! Tax reduction that will cost us billions! Now that Obama has it wrapped up, I want to hear what his plans are! Not just “change” talk, but his actual plans!

  4. 4

    slingshot spews:

    You should expect some excessively dirty swift-boating tactics from that pathetic pack of malignant hyenas. Rest assured they’ll drag the discourse to ever greater depths in their attempt to remain entrenched and connected to the I.V. of greed and power.

  5. 5

    slingshot spews:

    “Hannah”, it’s all on his website. And from that website:

    “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.”

    Looks like a plan to me.

  6. 6

    "Hannah" spews:

    @5 Slingshot – I know what his website says! But for those people who don’t support Obama “because they don’t know enough about him”, what I am saying he needs to TALK about his plans.

  7. 7

    Tommy Thompson spews:

    Hannah, Barack spoke about his plans for Iraq, similar to what is said in comment #5 above, on Sunday’s Meet the Press, and on many other occassions – maybe your not listening too well or your distracted like the “Liberal” media on the Rev. Wright contraversey, or maybe you’re listening to Hillary’s fake tales, or maybe it is because you are white. You’re not part of some Polyigamist Colt, are you?

  8. 9

    "Hannah" spews:

    @7 – Yes he spoke about his plans on one big interview, those I know who are waivering between Obama and McCain, keep telling me they need to hear more. Just one big interview and not much media on WHO he is and what his PLANS for the US people are, make these waiverers not too sure. I keep getting the “McCain has military knowledge and experience, McCain is not like Bush, as he is almost as liberal as Clinton” yada yada yada.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Like everything else Republican, Sheriff Blowdry (sp? Blowhard?) isn’t viable without subsidies.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Sheriff Blowup voted against dust regulations that protect workers from explosions.

    Why does he hate workers so much?

  10. 11

    Steve spews:

    @2 GBS pretty much nails it. The pendulum swings left (sigh of relief), there’s nothing they can do about it other than false flag – martial law or some bullshit. Speaking of which:

    @4 Indeed, Slingshot, like cornered animals they’ll still be quite dangerous, perhaps more so than ever. At the very least, they’ll be increasingly vile and disgusting. Take the folks at BIAW, for instance. My bet is that they put on quite the show this year. The only question in my mind – how low will they go? In some ways it will be fun to watch.

  11. 12

    ArtFart spews:

    If there’s anyone left in the Republican leadership with even the slightest grip on reality, they ought to slap a big hunk of duct tape over Newt’s mouth before he embarrasses them any further.

  12. 13

    ArtFart spews:

    Something else that doesn’t help the GOP–I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the country, but if it’s anything like around here there are still Ron Paul signs all over the place, silent reminders of what might have been.

  13. 14

    slingshot spews:

    The Newt has to continually regurgitate his brand on the customer-his handouts from think tanks are probably tied to the number of Sunday talk show appearances he scores. These outbursts snag him a couple/few, most likely. He opens his big stupid mount and he gets free national publicity. He just happens to be right this time, is the difference.

  14. 15

    Daddy Love spews:

    I should mention this:

    A recent poll of professional historians also found that “98.2 percent assessed the presidency of Mr. Bush to be a failure while 1.8 percent classified it as a success.” More than 61 percent of the historians “concluded that the current presidency is the worst in the nation’s history.”

    I’m just proud of Dave Reichert’s role in turning this from a dream into a reality.

  15. 17

    cmiklich spews:

    Wow.

    A buncha commie-demo profs say Bush is bad.

    Wow.

    Now, that’s news. Wow.

    Interesting. Same article blames GWB for the “ecological disaster”. They talking “global warming”? That one’s been completely debunked. Just like about every other liberal theory.

    I do agree he’s not conservative. Never has been. Therefore, not a real Republican. Just a RINO. Hell, even WFB and National Review said as much A DECADE AGO!

    However, GWB has kept America safe since BJ Clinton’s invitees bombed the WTC on 09/11/01. All those ragheads came in on BJ’s watch. Osama or McCain are way too liberal. Waaaaay more than GWB. They’ll let 09/11 happen again. Unless we can get Israel to fight our wars for us.

  16. 18

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    The right wing crazies are out tonight. Now I realize why no right wing turds ever try to defend Big Hair Davie here. He’s a lost cause and the right wants to cut their losses hoping they’ll still hold maybe 10% of Congress after the next election.

  17. 19

    Alias spews:

    Actually, the Republican collapse can be dated to the first days of September, 2005, when the Bush administration began issuing their excuses for the poor FEMA performance after Katrina. Across, the country, you could almost hear an audible gasp as Americans, who had been viewing the difficulties of the people at the Superdome and the Convention Center for two days live on TV, were suddenly being told that the Bush White House “just learned of the situation”, and that “nobody could have expected this type of catastrophie” despite reminders that it had been predicted for decades.

    Then, as the Bush PR repair team tried to solve the resulting PR problem by their usual tactic of (a) blaming the Democrats, and (b) blaming the victims, Americans who had been willing to give the President the doubt suddenly realized that they were being fed some shameless lies, and that this certainly wasn’t the first time it had happened.

    From that point on, Americans refused to believe the Bush administration’s statements without corroborating evidence, and then it became clear that Bush & Co. lied habitually, about just about everything.

  18. 20

    FricknFrack spews:

    @ 19. Alias

    Yeah, you HIT the nail on the coffin! Then, the bizarre PR photo ops. Like holding est. 500 Firefighters and trained First Responders for Sexual Harassment training & drinking beer at their hotel (instead of allowing them to get to work). Just so they were available for Bush to arrive and do yet another Katrina photo op. While people were still gasping at pics of dead bodies still floating.

    Later, the “Mission Accomplished” photo op. The Lincoln had to delay an extra day at sea so all the sailors could wash and paint before the Presidential visit. After their long stint in the Middle East, needed to leave their families on hold an extra day – so that a small man could glorify his huge ego. Americans aren’t so stoooopid that they will keep sipping the koolaid!