The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The 2014 Democrats: They Have No Opinions on Anything!


Today’s Morning Jolt points out that some sources contradict a Washington Post report on sequester cuts hurting cancer patients; discusses whether the term “entitlements” helps or hurts effort to reform those programs, and then has this bit of political news on the early talk of the 2014 House races:

Vote Democrats in 2014: They Have No Opinions on Anything!

Keep the lead of this Washington Post article in mind when you’re told about the great liberal ascendancy that will continue in the midterms:

Democratic Party officials believe that Kevin Strouse is exactly the kind of candidate who can help them retake the House next year.

He’s a smart, young former Army Ranger — good qualities for any aspiring politician. But what party leaders really like is that Strouse doesn’t have particularly strong views on the country’s hottest issues.

Immigration? Tax policy? “Certainly I have a lot of research to do,” Strouse acknowledged in an interview Thursday as he announced his candidacy in a suburban Philadelphia House district.

Strouse’s candidacy reflects an emerging Democratic strategy for taking back the House from Republicans after the tea party takeover of 2010.

Like Elizabeth Colbert Busch, he appears to be following a strategy of never taking a stance that anyone, anywhere, might disagree with. “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride . . .”

Now, if liberalism were ascendant, and the electorate’s preferences were shifting strongly and dramatically to the left, why wouldn’t these folks be talking about the need for the government to do more, dismiss the claim that we need to dramatically reduce our spending, that President Obama is getting it right, again and again, and that they’ll eagerly return Nancy Pelosi to the Speakership?

You can argue that Colbert Busch is running in too Republican-leaning a district to give you a fair reading on that. But Kevin Strouse is running in Pennsylvania’s eighth district, basically Bucks County. It’s a D+1 district. With Barack Obama carrying the state by a healthy margin, and Bob Casey winning the Senate reelection handily, the GOP incumbent, Mike Fitzpatrick, won . . . 56 percent of the vote. Nearly 200,000 votes.

Also mentioned in the article: Sean Eldridge, husband of Facebook co-founder and New Republic owner Chris Hughes. Here are some of the highlights from the New York magazine writeup on his filing:

Yesterday Eldridge, 26, filed papers establishing a campaign organization that would enable him to compete for New York’s 19th congressional district seat in 2014 . . . 

Eldridge would be smart to stockpile more of that kind of credit in the local political favor bank. He was born in Canada and grew up in Ohio, and he and Hughes split time among a number of palatial residences — the kind of things that will help Gibson try to paint the novice candidate as a dilettante and carpetbagger. Gibson, 48, is a lifelong New Yorker and a talented campaigner with an appealing personal story, especially for a district that includes newly gentrified river towns like Hudson* but also covers a wide swath of depressed rural territory: He’s a former Army colonel who served four tours in Iraq and was awarded a Purple Heart…

November’s results showed that Gibson is formidable: He beat a Democratic challenger by six points even though Barack Obama carried the district by a substantial margin. Turnout is likely to be lower in 2014 — without a presidential campaign or a contested New York gubernatorial election — which could also hurt Eldridge’s chances.

There’s a lot of road between this moment and the 2014 midterms, but . . .  do Colbert Busch, Strouse, and Eldridge sound like the all-star team you would want to assemble to retake the House?

Tags: Elizabeth Colbert Busch , House Democrats , House Republicans , Kevin Strouse , Sean Eldridge


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