Thursday, May 15, 2008

Republicans as "dog food" that would be "taken off the shelf"

That's the analogy of Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA)...

The losses in Louisiana and most recently, Mississippi, are certainly an ominous sign for the GOP. I like the line that Dems already picked off much of the low-hanging fruit, so further losses will likely be minimal. But a return to majority status is unlikely until 2010 (and then, only if Barack wins).

Here's Ken Dilanian in USA Today (hat tip: C-J)...

Republicans must regain the confidence of Americans and recast their message to voters to avoid a catastrophe in the fall congressional elections, top GOP officials said Wednesday in a stark postmortem of a loss in rural Mississippi.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who runs the committee tasked with helping elect Republicans to Congress, said Tuesday's defeat in Mississippi — after losing GOP seats in other special elections in Illinois and Louisiana — was evidence that "a large section of the American people doesn't have confidence in the Republican Party."

"What we've got right now is a deficiency in our message and a loss of confidence by the American people to do what we say we're going to do," Cole said in a conference call with reporters.

He said, "When you lose three of these in a row, you have to get beyond campaign tactics and take a long hard look: Is there something wrong with your product?"

In a memo to GOP leaders posted on Politico's website, retiring Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., offered a blunt verdict: "The Republican brand is in the trash can. … If we were a dog food, they would take us off the shelf."

"This is as bad as it gets for any party," said David Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report, which tracks each race. "I've never seen a more defeated tone." Nevertheless, Wasserman said, his analysis shows the Democrats will pick up far fewer districts than they did in the 2006 election, when they gained 31 seats. He estimates the Democrats will gain five to 10 seats in the fall. "Democrats won most of the low-hanging fruit in 2006," he said.

Democratic leaders, not surprisingly, have a different view. They hope to capitalize on their winning formula in Mississippi and Louisiana, where their candidates' cultural conservatism played well....

Former speaker Newt Gingrich has urged House Republicans to come out with a series of dramatic proposals, including a moratorium on congressionally directed spending items known as earmarks. His ideas were not widely embraced.

Boehner is rolling out an "American Families Agenda" this week focusing on national security, tax cuts, balancing the budget and boosting domestic oil production.


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