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Van Hollen Warns Against 'Irrational Exuberance'

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) has begun a concerted effort to warn his House Democratic colleagues to "beware of irrational exuberance" despite a growing evidence that the party is positioned to pick up more seats in November.

In an interview today on washingtonpost.com's PostTalk program, Van Hollen acknowledged that the national environment looked good for Democrats to perform well in House races in November. "That having been said, you've got to do the fundamentals right," Van Hollen cautioned. "You've got to have the resources to carry these races over the finish line and despite our lead over the Republicans in fundraising, we don't have the resources to take advantage of these opportunities."

Van Hollen made a similar point in a memo to his Democratic colleagues last week. And while he has often been overshadowed by bigger Democratic personalities on the Hill, Van Hollen has been more visible in the media in recent days. He is the subject of a glowing profile in the current edition of Washingtonian magazine, and he squared off against National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) on Fox News Sunday this past weekend.

Van Hollen has been repeating that point about Democrats needing more cash for the fall, but he hasn't been talking as much about the polls -- specifically, national surveys that have shown Congress with an historically low approval rating. If Congress is about as unpopular as the lame duck President Bush, couldn't that hurt the Democratic majority in November?

"What the polls show is that people are frustrated with Congress as an institution, and not moving fast enough on the issues they care about ..." Van Hollen said, adding that "people have been frustrated that we haven't seen as much of a change of direction in Iraq," and so Democrats have to continually remind voters that Democrats are "the party of change."

If Democrats secure the gains currently being projected by many analysts, they may well be the party of "change," as hordes of conservative freshmen elected from swing districts could make waves within the party. The recent special election victors in Mississippi and Louisiana both ran as conservatives, and the addition of more members like them could well cause more fractures in a caucus that already has trouble staying united on some issues.

"This has been a topic of discussion, obviously, within the caucus, and I think the overwhelming consensus is this: We as Democrats are a big tent party, and we're not going to agree on every issue 100 percent of the time," Van Hollen said, emphasizing that party leaders don't expect or want members from tough districts to vote in lockstep with them.

"But on the key bread and butter issues ... they're with us," Van Hollen said.

The Fix, which co-hosted the interview with Capitol Briefing, has already written about Van Hollen's thoughts on the presidential race and what the candidates can do to help in House races this fall. You can watch the full interview here:


By Ben Pershing  |  May 27, 2008; 4:55 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Dem. Leaders  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Stretching the Facts on Iraq?
Next: Follow the GOP Leaders (Out the Door)

Comments

Note: It is reported that member Donna Brazille "..is neutral in the Democratic Primary". This is an absolute lie,
as she has been an Obama supporter from day one! Many of us have called for her impeachment from the DNC Committee
for CONFLICT of INTEREST....being on CNN as "a Democratic Strategist" and member of DNC Rules.......she is NOT shy about her opinion and support of Obama,
and is VERY SLY as a DNC.....representative for DNC! ????????????

SHE SHOULD NOT VOTE!


Leading The News HERE THEY ARE:
_________________________________

DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee
__________________________________

By The Hill Staff
Posted: 05/27/08 07:32 PM [ET]


Chairs


Alexis Herman served in the Clinton administration as secretary of labor from 1997 to 2001, but has stayed neutral in the Democratic primary.

James Roosevelt, Jr. is president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan, a Massachusetts based HMO. He is also neutral.

Members


Donna Brazile is chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She is neutral in the Democratic primary.

Mark Brewer is chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party and has not endorsed a candidate.

Martha Fuller Clark is a member of the New Hampshire state senate who was defeated in a House race against then-incumbent John Sununu (R-N.H.). Clark backs Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Ralph Dawson is an attorney with the international law firm Fulbright and Jaworski, where he is engaged in the practice of labor and employment law and civil litigation in the firm's New York office. Dawson has not endorsed a candidate.

Hartina Flournoy serves as assistant to the president of the American Federation of Teachers, where she focuses on public policy. She supports Clinton.

Carol Khare Fowler is chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and is an Obama backer.

Donald Fowler is professor of public administration and American politics at the University of South Carolina and served as national chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1995 to 1997. He backs Clinton.

Yvonne Atkinson Gates was Clark County (Nev.) Commissioner from 1993 to 2007 and is neutral in the race.

Alice Germond has served as secretary of the Democratic National Committee since 2002 and has not backed a candidate.

Jaime Gonzalez, Jr. is an attorney and a member of the American Association for Justice and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Gonzalez backs Clinton.

Janice Griffin is president and CEO of Griffin & Associates, a government affairs consulting firm. She supports Obama.

Alice Huffman is president of the California State Conference of the NAACP and is founder and president/CEO of A.C. Public Affairs, Inc., a firm that specializes in public and grass roots advocacy. Huffman backs Clinton.

Thomas Hynes is a member of the governmental relations group of Chapman and Cutler LLP, where he focuses on governmental relations, commercial law, state and local taxation and local government law. Hynes has endorsed Obama.

Harold Ickes. Harold Ickes is co-chair of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.'s labor and government relations groups and manages the firm's Washington, DC office. Ickes served as deputy White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration from 1994-1997. Ickes is a senior adviser on Clinton's campaign.

Ben Johnson was an assistant to the president during the Clinton administration and backs Clinton.

Elaine Kamarck is a lecturer in public policy who came to the Kennedy School in 1997 after creating and administering the National Performance Review from 1993 to 1997. The former senior aide to Vice President Al Gore is backing Clinton.

Allan Katz is a Florida superdelegate and Tallahassee city commissioner who supports Obama. Katz is the only member of rules and bylaws committee who voted against sanctioning Florida and Michigan.

Eric Kleinfeld. Eric Kleinfeld is a Washington, DC attorney and Clinton supporter who worked on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign.

David McDonald is an attorney at K&L Gates whose practice focuses on intellectual property litigation. He also regularly advises on matters of constitutional and statutory law relating to political parties and has served as lead counsel for the Washington State Democratic Party. He has not endorsed a candidate.

Mona Pasquil is Northern California co-Chair of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) for Hillary and is former deputy political director of constituency outreach for Kerry-Edwards 2004. She is backing Clinton.

Mame Reiley is Democratic National Committee Women's Caucus chair and backs Clinton.

Garry Shay is chairman of the California Democratic Party Rules Committee and backs Clinton.

Elizabeth Smith is a member-at-large of the Democratic National Committee from the District of Columbia. She supports Clinton.

Michael Steed is managing director of Paladin Capital Group, a firm which provides equity capital to small to medium sized companies. Steed backs Clinton.

Sharon Stroschein heads Sen. Tim Johnson's (D-S.D.) office in Aberdeen, S.D. and has endorsed Obama.

Sarah Swisher is first vice chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party and an Obama endorser.

Everett Ward is a North Carolina superdelegate and Obama supporter.

Jerome Wiley Segovia is a Virginia superdelegate and founder of Latinos for Dean. He has not endorsed a candidate.

Posted by: Steve | May 28, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I care, and if you were human you would too. He fights a war to keep you free from harm, and you have the guall to say things like that. I hope your soul burns in HALL!

Posted by: suxzced | May 28, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I care too, and for your smart remark, I hope your soul burns in hall too.!!!

Posted by: elmerck | May 28, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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