Via Jay Cost, I see the White House is attempting to make the argument that the anti-incumbent atmosphere will hurt Republicans as well as Democrats. Cost rightly points out that you can count the number of vulnerable incumbent Republicans in Congress on one hand.
But here’s the quote that makes me wonder if anybody at the White House is paying any attention at all to the House elections:
“Dan Burton got less than 30 percent of the vote and the only reason he survived is because there were six people in the race with him,” said one senior Obama aide. “Dan Coats was the choice of the party and a former United States senator and he barely got 40 percent of the vote. The Republican Party is in fact marginally less popular than the Democrats.”
Dan Burton’s an example of a vulnerable Republican incumbent, hmm? Let’s take a look at his Democratic challenger, Tim Crawford. For starters, his campaign logo rather clearly evokes a Christian cross. Here are his self-described positions: “Pro-life, anti-big-government, pro-gun, anti-national ID, pro right-to-work, anti-cap and trade, anti-mandatory health insurance.” If he and Burton debate, the moderator may have to look hard for a disagreement.
Oh, and Crawford isn’t taking any donations: “This campaign is being funded out of my pocket alone. I am not accepting any donations due to the economic circumstances in our nation and around the world. Whatever you were willing to give, please, take it and make a charitable donation to a reputable not-for-profit organization.” A nice sentiment, but we can interpret this stance to suggest Crawford will compete with no television or radio advertising, no mailers, and an entirely volunteer get-out-the-vote operation. Burton, by contrast, has represented Indiana in the House since 1982 and has $300,000 in the bank in a district that scores R+17 in the Cook PVI. (I wonder if the senior Obama aide who mentioned Burton even knows who Crawford is.)
On the example of Coats, note that the senior Obama aide is arguing that an anti-incumbent wave will help a current member of the House overcome a former senator who left office in 2000. Indiana’s voters are angry at Washington, so they’ll punish the guy who hasn’t been there this decade, by electing the guy who has been there since 2006.