MEMO from National Republican Congressional Committee



DATE: AUGUST 4, 2011


As Congress breaks for August recess, it’s clear that Republicans have the momentum of victory. Now eight months into a new Majority, Republicans have changed the debate in Washington and demonstrated the ability to make tough decisions with the will to win for the American people.
House Republicans have cut more spending than any Congress since World War II. Unlike Democrats last Congress, we’ve passed a budget. We’ve delivered on our promise to make the legislative process more transparent and accountable to the people. We’ve passed over a dozen jobs bills to empower small businesses, reduce regulatory burdens, provide tax relief and promote real American energy solutions.  Now the American people are waiting on the Senate and President Obama to support the same.
As Democrats have fought for their failed tax, borrow and spend policies, Republicans have proven the ability to lead and are well-positioned to stay on offense for the 2012 election cycle.
As Democrats tout “star” candidate recruits like Alan Grayson, they are stooping to his level of demagoguery in concerted attempts to mislead the American people:
Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit.” (Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan, “Biden: Tea ‘Terrorists’,” Politico, 8/1/2011)
And after falsely attacking concerned Americans as “Astroturf” last Congress, Democrats are now launching Astroturf campaigns operated and funded by left-wing interest groups during the August recess. In addition to call campaigns and protests from Organizing for America and, liberal groups are buying ads in an effort to purchase support for their failed agenda:
“A coalition of groups is going on the air today with an 8-state, six-figure ad buy slamming Republicans for threatening to put the country into default. Americans United for Change, SEIU, AFSCME and the National Education Association are teaming up for the buy, which runs through Monday. (Emily Schultheis, Charles Mahtesian and Dan Hirschhorn, “Progressives Hit Back on Debt Ceiling,” Politico’s “Morning Score”, 7/29/2011)
The American people have realized that Democrat policies are having a negative impact on the economy and job creation. According to polling released by Fox News (7/17-19/2011), 49% of voters say the Obama Administration has “made the economy worse,” including 50% of Independents.
Why? Because they have. Since Democrats took control of Washington, unemployment has risen from 7.8% to the current 9.2%. And with dismal economic growth estimates of only 0.4% and 1.3% each quarter this year, 14 million unemployed Americans face a job market mired in economic uncertainty.
With the big-spending “Stimulus” and “Recovery Summer” campaigns bombing out, now Democrats are defaulting to style over substance – even claiming that jobs aren’t that important.
“ ‘People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’ … Plouffe said what voters really want is ‘vision.’ ” (Julie Mason, “Plouffe: It’s About Vision, Not Jobs,” Politico, 7/8/2011)
Unless a Democrat-controlled Washington starts embracing policies for marketplace certainty and job creation, Democrats will be surprised how many Americans ask them next election: Where are the jobs?
The 2012 election will be driven by the top of the ticket: Barack Obama. From government spending and the debt ceiling to jobs and the economy, voters have seen a lack of leadership from President Obama that no amount of charismatic speeches can overcome.  According to the Gallup tracking poll (7/26-28/2011), President Obama’s approval rating hit a new low of 40%.
Democrats admit that they own the economy, and American voters agree. Independents especially are fleeing President Obama in droves. According to a Quinnipiac University poll (7/5-11/2011), 62% of Independent voters disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy. No president has been re-elected with 9% unemployment since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The American people’s astounding rejection of Democrats last election continues to reverberate across the political spectrum. Democrats face significant head winds in their drive to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again.
After three consecutive wave elections, Republicans and Democrats have reached near parity in the number of crossover seats. Under current signed redistricting maps, 21 Republicans sit in Democrat-leaning seats and 20 Democrats in Republican-leaning seats – removing the key ingredient of one-party overextension required for another wave election.
Additionally, as the redistricting process rolls across the nation, dozens of current Republican seats are becoming even less competitive for Democrats.
Blue Dog Democrats are a breed nearing extinction. From the 2010 election, Blue Dogs lost over half their ranks, going from 54 to 26. This Congress, four more have already thrown in the towel: Jane Harman (D-CA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dan Boren (D-OK) and now Mike Ross (D-AR).
Many of the 22 remaining Blue Dogs face daunting chances of survival as voters see that Blue Dogs bark moderate rhetoric but run with a pack of pure-bred liberals led by Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Eight Blue Dogs opposed ObamaCare last Congress, but are now on record voting against its repeal this Congress. All Blue Dogs voted against cutting nearly $100 Billion below the President’s budget request last February and the spending cuts in the Republican budget plan.
Already, Republican candidates are lining up to hold Democrats accountable for their liberal voting record, including Andy Barr against Blue Dog Ben Chandler (D-KY). In 2012, Blue Dogs will have no place to hide. 
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Drive for 24” this cycle is a far more grueling road than just 24 seats.  With the national net result of redistricting likely plus or minus one or two for either party, Democrats must focus on overcoming the “drainage” effect of Republicans picking up seats and making the Democrat drive even longer. In the 1996 elections, Democrats picked up 20 Republican seats they needed to take back the majority but also lost 11 of their own open seats, resulting in a nine-seat deficit.
With Republicans on offense to take Democrat seats, the Cook Political Report reaches this conclusion:
“Add it up and Democrats would not only need to run the table on all the races in their own Lean Democratic and Toss Up columns, but run the table on the 10 GOP seats in Toss Up and 15 GOP seats in Lean Republican to win back the House. .... But the kind of gains Democrats and DCCC Chair Rep. Steve Israel need aren't the kind that can be brought about by patching together a few recruitment victories and solid fundraising months.” (David Wasserman, National House Overview: July 2011, Cook Political Report, 07/14/11)
Nevertheless, in the coming months Democrats’ hype and hubris will continue to grow. Democrats underestimated the American people last election, and they will do it again in 2012.
Only one party stands committed to listening to the American people, and House Republicans know that it’s the key to staying on offense and winning elections. So let’s win August, and then win 2012.