About a year before the 2008 elections, NBC’s Chuck Todd wondered if Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was about to face the same shameful defeat that Senator Tom Daschle faced in 2004 when he was the Minority Leader of Senate Democrats. He asked, “Could McConnell get Daschle-d?”
Fortunately for Republicans, the answer was “no.” McConnell successfully held his seat this year, albeit barely. So pundits are already looking toward 2010, where they see vulnerability again. But it’s not a Republican they believe may get “Daschle-d.” This time, it’s Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Many Americans don’t know who Reid is, so allow me to remind you. He’s the senator who turned his back on our military and declared we’d lost the war in Iraq in April 2007. He’s also the senator who partnered with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to oppose offshore drilling when we were paying four dollars a gallon for our gasoline just a few short months ago.
Yes, he’s the same senator who mocked George W. Bush’s low job approval numbers yet now presides over a Democrat-controlled Senate that has approval numbers at 9% according to the latest Rasmussen polls. No wonder The New Republic is reporting that Senator John Cornyn, “the newly-minted chief of the National Republican Senatorial Committee,” wants to make Reid’s senate seat the central target for Republicans in the 2010 elections.
To be fair, Reid’s personal approval numbers are a bit higher than those of Congress as a whole. He can boast of a whopping 38% job approval rating. But he ought not boast too much, because this means 62% of the people don’t approve of the hyperpartisan job he’s done thus far.
Of course, Reid doesn’t believe his low approval numbers are his fault. Rather, he blames them on Bush’s low numbers. Stop laughing — I’m being serious.
One of the main reasons NBC’s Todd thought McConnell could get “Daschle-d” was because he was polling less than 50% against his most likely Democrat opponent more than a year before the actual election. Ironically, Amy Walter of NationalJournal.com recently pointed out that, in polling results for a possible battle between Reid and Republican John Porter, Reid’s likely 2010 opponent, “[Reid] was up but still under 50 percent.” She added that “[Reid] has high unfavorables.”
But even without all the “high unfavorables” that cling to Reid like warts to a witch, Thomas Schaller of Salon.com brings up something else that Reid’s campaign has got to be thinking about. And that is that the Republican Revolution took place during a political cycle very similar to the one we are about to enter: “The last time the Democrats controlled all of Washington was following the 1992 victory of Bill Clinton. Just two years later, the Republicans swept into power, defining the politics of the next 12 years.”
And if we just look at Nevada specifically, without bringing in national politics, the recent voting record of Nevadans ought not inspire much confidence in Reid’s chances. As the Associated Press put it, “While Nevada broke for President-elect Barack Obama by 12 percentage points in November, the state voted for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.”
Reid knows the Republicans will be gunning for his seat in 2010. The Politico announced that Reid’s campaign has launched a “’lessons learned from Tom Daschle’ strategy as he eyes his own run for reelection.” As the cornerstone to this strategy, Reid “recently hired his former chief of staff, Susan McCue, as a consultant to strengthen his home state message.”
In other words, Reid wants McCue to try to distract Nevada voters from the hard-left positions he’s held over the last few years by reminding Nevadans that he’s “to the right of [many] Democrats” on issues that matter to their state. And perhaps the best news I can deliver to those of you who hope to see Reid get “Daschle-d” is that this is the same game-plan Daschle followed in 2004.
In 2004, Daschle was seeking re-election by trying to deny the major achievements of his Senate career and pitching himself to South Dakotans as a “pro-marriage” senator, even though he was the one who had killed the vote on an amendment to the Constitution that would have banned gay marriage. Daschle failed because he was too liberal for South Dakota. Reid is far too liberal for Nevada.
A Roman Catholic PAC called Ave Maria List ran ads in South Dakota reminding voters that Daschle was being duplicitous; that as Senate Minority Leader “he urged people to support and send money to the largest pro-abortion group, NARAL,” and that Daschle himself “even sent $10,000 in campaign funds to another pro-abortion group.”
And after being confronted with the fact that he had mass-mailed a letter asking voters to “give to NARAL today, so NARAL can mobilize the resources to get out the pro-choice vote on Election Day,” all Daschle could say was that he regretted “the interpretation of the letter.”
We need a similar PAC to pop up in Nevada as the 2010 elections draw near, so that, when Reid tells Nevadans he supports the military, a commercial can be aired showing him denouncing the war in Iraq as a lost cause. That same PAC can remind Nevadans that we are still dependent upon terrorist nations for our energy because Reid will not support drilling for our own oil off our own shores and that the approval numbers for Reid’s Senate make Bush look like Elvis.
What happened to Daschle in 2004 is altogether likely for Reid in 2010. And while the left-leaning bloggers may say I’m just a dreamer on this one, allow me to use the words of one of their favorite socialists to say, “I’m not the only one.”
What was just a whisper months ago has effervesced into chatter and is now coming to print: Reid is vulnerable. The question is: Will he get “Daschle-d?” If Republicans pull out all the stops, he very well may.