The latest from the politico
House Republicans have a fairly simple plan to reclaim the majority: Blame Nancy.
The National Republican Congressional Committee launches its first national advertising blitz Thursday with a drive to tie freshmen Democrats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The GOP's cash-strapped campaign arm will launch a mix of radio ads and automated phone calls targeting 18 freshman Democrats for allegedly marching in lockstep with the speaker, a California Democrat who is regularly depicted by Republicans as an out-of-touch liberal.
This modest campaign comes 17 months before the next election and signals the seats that Republicans are targeting in 2008. But it also marks an ambitious decision by the campaign committee to go after the speaker in an effort to unseat her most vulnerable members.
This doesn't sound that much different than the last go around in 06, which is a big mistake. This was my concern ever since the same house leadership was kept after the debacle in 06 instead of going with a new direction with people like Mike Pence, Jeb Henserling, and John Shadegg and the Republican Study Committee. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. There's a reasom Bob Shrum has lost 5 democrat presidential races.
So here's some advice to do something different. If I was running the elections campaign, this is what I was do.
A. Run as leaders. I get tired of candidates who say they are going to follow Candidate X's agenda. That kills us when candidate x (president, governor, etc) is unpopular. We got killed the most in the socially conservative independent areas.
B. Formulate a plan. Something beyond "Vote for me since they suck" This is what worked so well for us at our height. (1994) Yes, Bill Clinton absolutely sucked (although nobody is on Jimmy Carter's level since Franklin Pierce) I've gotten to the point where I refer to myself as a 1994 Republican to differentiate myself from some of the jokers out there with the big spending, big government, and abandonment of the conservative values of the party I've joined. If I wanted big government, I'd vote democrat.
C. Effective communications. The democrats ran on ethics, and gave us the same old crap that they pushed that lead to 1994.
How would I run the show?
1. Every race is contested on the ballot. If someone gets a free ride, they can help other candidates. John Dingell is a master when it comes to helping other candidates. We need to prevent this as much as possible.
2. Target 75-100 candidates in marginal and even long shot seats. They don't have to be big names, but they need to be clean. No Don Sherwood or Mark Foley disasters. By marginal or long shot seats, I refer to any seat that Bush got under 60% in 2000 or 2004. These need to be pushed, and we need to push in not just swing districts, but the tier 2/3 areas as well. Bart Stupak in this state should be targeted. He'd be tough to beat, but longtime incumbents have lost before. Harold Volkmer (sp) and Jack Brooks were upset in 1994.
3. Forget about the president candidate and coattails. Those are not controllable or only controlled to a limited extent by congressional candidates. Run your own race.
4. Plan. How do we get those tier 2 districts in play? Outside of a disaster on the other side, by a good plan. Tier II races won't have a lot of money. That can be overcomed with strong discipline, hard work, and a good message.
A. I'd create a slate with as many of those 75-100 candidates all on the same page. While there will be issue differences among them, run on the 90% issues. Ethics. Responsibility. Balanced Budget (Remember that? - It hasn't been done since Gingrich did it, and got the king of followers Clinton to finally go alone with him).
B. With the money problems, I'd create generic ads for most of those tier 2 races - "Contract 08 ads"
C. I'd emphasis that these candidates aren't the same politicians as the days of old. They wern't in office for the 04-05 disasters. New direction.
D. Issues to run on - if I was running
a1. Fiscal responsibility - balanced budget. Anything less is unacceptable - enact a balanced budget amendment.
a2. Peace with honor - End the war in Iraq, and do it the right way. I think Tommy Thompson had the right idea on it back in the debate.
a3. New energy policy - foget CAFE standards and other heavily regulatory crap. It's time to address our Achillees Heel so we can tell the Middle East and Hugo Chavez to go pound sand. Research and development, hard science. Cold Fusion is one example. Yes, it is not possible now, but neither was a man on the moon. This is the nation of innovation. It can be done.
a4. Border security - Current plan is unacceptable.
a5. Less government - It's time to bring that back.
a6. Low taxes and less regulation - People know what's best, government doesn't know what's best.
I didn't mention guns, abortion, or any of the social issues. Whether they fly or not depend on the district and depends on what's in the news or not at the time.
5. Communication. Again, we have been shown by Abscam Murtha, Pelosi and the rest of the crew the same old song and dance. I would have a communication strategy as follows for any non incumbent.
1. List the democrat promises and their failure to keep them. A variant would be a democrat running his mouth with the mute button on and overdub going "blah blah blah, same ole political bull" after the 2nd statement of the fact that they failed to live up to promised. Don't even name the party however.
2. Voter line - "We were promised this if the other guys were elected, and got the same old song and dance. They lied to us." Refer to the plan.
3. Introduce the new candidate - use any non incumbent for this.
6. Live up to the promises once elected. Do not back down on them, and do not forget where you come from.