The Associated Press ran an alarming story today about how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is cutting off Democrats in tough races who have supported President Obama’s agenda and rewarding conservative Democrats who’ve opposed Obama on key votes and won’t vote for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi if Democrats somehow retain the House.
Writes the AP:
The House campaign arm has in recent days canceled millions of dollars worth of advertising it had planned for Driehaus and other endangered Democrats including his fellow Ohioan Mary Jo Kilroy, Suzanne Kosmas in Florida, Betsy Markey in Colorado and Steve Kagen in Wisconsin. All of them voted for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and for legislation to curb carbon emissions — only to be savaged by Republicans on the campaign trail for doing so.
The list of Democratic candidates being lavished with national party help in the final days of the race includes many of the defectors on those marquee votes: Reps. Michael Arcuri in New York, Bobby Bright in Alabama, Travis Childers in Mississippi, Larry Kissell in North Carolina, Jim Marshall in Georgia and Glenn Nye in Virginia, among others.
Bright and Marshall have even said they wouldn’t vote to keep House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in her post. National Democrats are also spending freely to defend Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who opposed the climate bill and has run TV ads calling it "Nancy Pelosi’s energy tax."
The situation is similar for Rep. Frank Kratovil in Maryland, Zack Space in Ohio and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in South Dakota, all of whom voted "no" on the health care law and are receiving TV ad dollars from the Democrats’ campaign committee in the critical final days.
The DCCC says it’s simply spending money on the most winnable races, but it seems like a terrible strategic decision to dump those members in close races who’ve supported Obama and reward those who’ve opposed his legislative agenda—and will continue to do so. EMILY’s List communications director Jen Bluestein argues that pro-Obama candidates like Markey, Kosmos and Kilroy are still very much alive. “These women are all good Democrats, good team players, running good campaigns,” says Bluestein. “They are in tough races but they are completely winnable.” But instead of being rewarded for taking tough votes to advance Obama’s legislative priorities they’re being penalized, while the party continues to prop up Democrats who voted against the president at key times and are openly distancing themselves from Obama and Pelosi—and may still lose. And Democrats in Washington wonder why there’s an enthusiasm gap.