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Posted at 8:00 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Top House Democrats bullish on 2012 outlook

By Felicia Sonmez

CAMBRIDGE, Md. -- As they kicked off their party's annual issues conference Thursday evening here on the Eastern Shore, House Democratic leaders were optimistic that their party would rebound quickly from the shellacking it took at the polls 2 1/2 months ago.

"I see a tremendous pathway for us to be successful in 2012," House Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn (S.C.) told reporters at the conference's opening briefing.

Clyburn said that much of his optimism comes from polls showing President Obama's approval rating ticking up even before his widely hailed speech in the wake of the mass shooting in Tucson last week.

"If you look at the numbers that came out before the speech in Tucson, the president had gotten over 50 percent already," Clyburn said. "We think that is significant. We also see that there's, in surveys I've looked at, there's one point between Democrats and Republicans in terms of the public's view of us. That puts us in a very good place, for us to have lost the number that we lost in November and for us today to be only one point [away]."

Democrats need to win 25 seats in order to re-take the House in 2012. Party strategists have pointed to the 61 districts currently represented by Republicans that were carried by Obama in 2008 as a sign that the majority is well within reach, but it's still early to tell whether the climate in 2012 will be as favorable for Democrats as it was when Obama took office.

House Democratic Conference Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) also were bullish about their party's chances of retaking the House, noting that Democrats intend to hone their message this cycle.

"We feel that we've got a story to tell, and the story had not been completely written by November 2010," Becerra said. "But now that we get to compare and contrast with what Republicans do -- not what they say they want to do; not what they say they would have done, but with what they do -- once you get to compare and contrast, I think our story stands up very well for 2012."

Larson echoed Clyburn's point that Obama will be more of an asset than a liability to the party in 2012, saying that the president's presence at the top of the ticket "helps enormously" for Democrats downballot.

Both Obama and Vice President Biden will address the issues conference on Friday. Biden's address is the only portion of the conference that is open to the media. According to a leadership aide, Obama is expected to deliver brief remarks Friday evening to the more than 130 House Democrats in attendance, and then to spend time talking with lawmakers on a personal level.

After a lame-duck session that saw many liberal Democrats in open revolt against the president, Obama might have some fence-mending to do with members of the caucus this weekend. But Democratic leaders dismissed that notion Thursday night.

"I don't think there is a lot of sunlight between this president and the House Democratic caucus," Clyburn said, noting that House Democrats "delivered on every single agenda item that the president requested during his two years; every single one."

Larson added that what House Democrats expect to hear from Obama is "candor" and an address that focuses on jobs and the party's domestic agenda.

"But most of all, we're going to hear from him," Larson added. "He's our leader; he's the leader of the free world. And we are entirely behind and support the president of the United States."

On Thursday evening, the first night of the conference, Reps. Bruce Braley (Iowa), Rick Larsen (Wash.) and Sanford Bishop (Ga.) and former congressman Glenn Nye (Va.) were slated to take part in a panel discussion, chaired by Clyburn, about the close races they ran and (with the exception of Nye) won last year. Then, lawmakers were to attend a "Taste of Maryland" dinner.

Friday will will kick off with a breakfast panel moderated by Larson, House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood, House Chief Administrative Officer Dan Strodel and a representative from the U.S. Capitol Police at which lawmakers' spouses will be able to ask questions regarding members' security.

Then members will attend breakout panels; Reps. Frank Pallone (N.J.), Jesse Jackson Jr. (Ill.) and John Lewis (Ga.) will run three different sessions on messaging, and Rep. Mike Honda (Calif.) is holding one on new technology and new-media messaging.

That will be followed by a welcome session for the handful of freshman House Democrats and a presentation by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) focusing on the agenda for the coming year.

House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) will lead a session on his "Make It in America" agenda, and Democratic pollster Mark Mellman will also address members. Then Biden will speak, followed by some more breakout sessions. Obama's visit will round out the night, and members are slated to depart Saturday morning.

By Felicia Sonmez  | January 20, 2011; 8:00 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

I reiterate:

Congressional bozos are GRANDSTANDING. They PRETEND there is value in the (IN)action of going through motions SYMBOLICALLY ATTEMPTING SOMETHING THAT REALLY CANNOT BE DONE (and some perhaps even persuade themselves of the validity of their own propaganda --- but if one hypothesizes THAT, then "we" have to ALSO consider "OUR" PROCLIVITY TO ELECT FOOLS!).

This whole operation is undertaken TO FEND OFF, for as long as possible, RECOGNITION of the INcapacity of "our" political process to ACTUALLY deal with the REAL ECONOMIC problems of the day. The rabbit keeps running to the very last second, even when the outcome of “the chase” is inevitable, to stave off the killing bite of the wolf for as long as possible.

Does anyone REALLY think they can endlessly MISdirect "popular" attention by "goosing the rubes" with HYPED-UP NONSENSE?! They CAN'T repeal health care reform WITHOUT DUMPING ON 35 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ALREADY CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH CARE COVERAGE! Does ANYONE REALLY imagine that they can beguile "We the (small) People" to meekly go back to the status quo ante --- tolerating “our” MIS”leadership” continuing to pour endless UN”FUNDED” bazillion$ into ENDLESS WARS while more and more of “We the (small) People” are reduced to living miserable existences and dying of preventable diseases?? Then what do they imagine the "mood of the people" would be come the NEXT election??!

And they ALSO could not ACTUALLY "refuse to raise the debt ceiling" without setting off A REALLY BIG "run on the bank" were "OUR BANKER" CHINA to start suffering substantial losses THAT WOULD PROVOKE THEM TO TAKE MEASURES TO CUT STILL FURTHER LOSSES AND ULTIMATELY "BAIL OUT" COMPLETELY! (I don’t know whether very many folks have NOTICED, but it WASN’T really “THE BIG BANKS” that got bailed out back in 2008! ACTUALLY, IT WAS THEIR BIG INVESTORS AND BONDHOLDERS!) And THAT TOO would, by the time all the blood congeals, hardly curry them much favor with their constituents!

No, I think politicians could not POSSIBLY be that stupid and actually get elected --- OR AT LEAST I HOPE NOT!

But all THAT does then is to bring things back to "square one" ---

SO WHERE ARE THE JOBS??

“We” are going to have to actually WORK our way out of this, and ACTUALLY PAY OFF “OUR” DEBTS(!) and GET TRULY SERIOUS ABOUT NOT RE-INCURRING THEM AGAIN IN THE FUTURE --- and ALSO about ACTUALLY ABANDONING “OUR” LITTLE OIL-BASED “EMPIRE”!!

Better get SERIOUSLY busy REALLY IMPLEMENTING all that “ALTERNATIVE ENERGY” TECHNOLOGY, folks! In reality, it GENUINELY DOES exist --- but it has BEEN STYMIED FOR MANY YEARS by really QUITE UNSCRUPULOUS “vested“ interests THAT HAVE LONG BEEN LINING THEIR POCKETS AT THE EXPENSE OF ALL THE REST OF US!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | January 21, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I reiterate:

Congressional bozos are GRANDSTANDING. They PRETEND there is value in the (IN)action of going through motions SYMBOLICALLY ATTEMPTING SOMETHING THAT REALLY CANNOT BE DONE (and some perhaps even persuade themselves of the validity of their own propaganda --- but if one hypothesizes THAT, then "we" have to ALSO consider "OUR" PROCLIVITY TO ELECT FOOLS!).

This whole operation is undertaken TO FEND OFF, for as long as possible, RECOGNITION of the INcapacity of "our" political process to ACTUALLY deal with the REAL ECONOMIC problems of the day. The rabbit keeps running to the very last second, even when the outcome of “the chase” is inevitable, to stave off the killing bite of the wolf for as long as possible.

Does anyone REALLY think they can endlessly MISdirect "popular" attention by "goosing the rubes" with HYPED-UP NONSENSE?! They CAN'T repeal health care reform WITHOUT DUMPING ON 35 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ALREADY CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH CARE COVERAGE! Does ANYONE REALLY imagine that they can beguile "We the (small) People" to meekly go back to the status quo ante --- tolerating “our” MIS”leadership” continuing to pour endless UN”FUNDED” bazillion$ into ENDLESS WARS while more and more of “We the (small) People” are reduced to living miserable existences and dying of preventable diseases?? Then what do they imagine the "mood of the people" would be come the NEXT election??!

And they ALSO could not ACTUALLY "refuse to raise the debt ceiling" without setting off A REALLY BIG "run on the bank" were "OUR BANKER" CHINA to start suffering substantial losses THAT WOULD PROVOKE THEM TO TAKE MEASURES TO CUT STILL FURTHER LOSSES AND ULTIMATELY "BAIL OUT" COMPLETELY! (I don’t know whether very many folks have NOTICED, but it WASN’T really “THE BIG BANKS” that got bailed out back in 2008! ACTUALLY, IT WAS THEIR BIG INVESTORS AND BONDHOLDERS!) And THAT TOO would, by the time all the blood congeals, hardly curry them much favor with their constituents!

No, I think politicians could not POSSIBLY be that stupid and actually get elected --- OR AT LEAST I HOPE NOT!

But all THAT does then is to bring things back to "square one" ---

SO WHERE ARE THE JOBS??

“We” are going to have to actually WORK our way out of this, and ACTUALLY PAY OFF “OUR” DEBTS(!) and GET TRULY SERIOUS ABOUT NOT RE-INCURRING THEM AGAIN IN THE FUTURE --- and ALSO about ACTUALLY ABANDONING “OUR” LITTLE OIL-BASED “EMPIRE”!!

Better get SERIOUSLY busy REALLY IMPLEMENTING all that “ALTERNATIVE ENERGY” TECHNOLOGY, folks! In reality, it GENUINELY DOES exist --- but it has BEEN STYMIED FOR MANY YEARS by really QUITE UNSCRUPULOUS “vested“ interests THAT HAVE LONG BEEN LINING THEIR POCKETS AT THE EXPENSE OF ALL THE REST OF US!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | January 21, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I read the headline "Dems bullish on 2012 outlook" and I thought they were talking about the economy. But they were just talking about how many seats they want to win or keep from Republicans. How about focusing on the economy and stop obsessing about your precious seats?

Posted by: chumms | January 21, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think the headline writer was a bit dyslexic. The hed should read "Top House Democrats bullshi* on 2012 outlook".

Posted by: Erisian | January 21, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Despite the POTUS trying to pull a Bill Clinton the voters now know what he really stands for. The selection of GE's Immelt and previously Andy Stern, show he hasn't learned. He's just getting better at trying to hide what he really believes.

Posted by: Jimbo77 | January 21, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

nice to see the Democrats are still deaf. That should help the Republicans.

Posted by: jschmidt2 | January 21, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama's popularity always rises after he makes a good speech.

But it never stays there for long.

Because he continues to ignore the economy.

Posted by: mrfr1 | January 21, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

You know if the GOP actually acted like grownups and crafted some solutions instead of grandstaing for their base then the Dems would have some reason to worry.

I think there is about a 1% chance of that happening so rest easy Dems.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | January 21, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The Moron in Chief, Joe "Foot in Mouth" Biden, Nancy "Biach" Pelosi, and the rest of the Dems are still in denial!!!
Sounds like the Democratic caucus sits around smoking some really good weed singing kum-bi-a, telling each other that everything will be great and that the American public really loves them!
Keep the dream alive!!! Now go back to sleep.

Posted by: brooklynborn1 | January 21, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

With Obama's reelection in 2012, the composition of the voting population will be very different than it was in 2012. It would not be out of the question for the Senate to go Repub, but the House to go back to the Dems.

Posted by: Observer691 | January 21, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

they want control...
they want power...
but they don't want to create jobs...
or help the people...
dems still control the goverment...
in 2012, take the senate away from the dems...
take the whitehouse too...

Posted by: DwightCollins | January 21, 2011 5:58 AM | Report abuse

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