Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Are Republicans on the March?

In the wake of an election cycle dominated by bad news for Republicans, the last five days have been a welcome relief.

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss cruised to a runoff victory last Tuesday, and House Republicans held Louisiana's 4th district and pulled off a massive upset win over Rep. Bill Jefferson in Louisiana's 2nd district on Saturday.

Those three developments have led some Republicans to insist that what happened on Nov. 4 was almost entirely due to President-elect Barack Obama's unique electoral appeal and that when the soon-to-be-president is not on the ballot -- the 2010 midterm elections -- his party will not fare nearly as well.

"Voters vented on Nov. 4th and the momentum that swept Obama and many other Democrats to victory has now stalled a bit," said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, a partner in the firm Public Opinion Strategies. "It seems it might have been 'easy' to get the Democratic base excited about Nov. 4th -- the historic opportunity to elect Obama and send a message of rejection to Bush's eight-year tenure -- but it's a bit more difficult re-energizing those voters now, with seemingly less at stake."

Republican leaders across the country quickly pounced on the good news out of Louisiana to argue that a new day is dawning for the GOP.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) issued a memo late Sunday insisting that the victory of Anh "Joseph" Cao over Jefferson is a sign that the tide is turning for Republicans.

"The Cao victory is a symbol of our future," wrote Boehner. "In the two years ahead, House Republicans will demonstrate our commitment to reform by holding ourselves to the highest possible ethical standard...[and] presenting principled, superior solutions to the challenges facing our country."

In that vein, the Boehner memo sought to highlight the ongoing ethics questions surrounding New York Rep. Charlie Rangel -- evidence that Republicans will seek to use Rangel's problems as a cudgel against House Democrats in the coming months.

The Louisiana Republican Party issued their own release in the wake of the Cao victory (in keeping with the idea that success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan), claiming that the wins on Saturday were a validation of the reform agenda of Louisiana Governor -- and potential 2012 presidential candidate -- Bobby Jindal.

"The voters spoke and their resounding choice for reforming government, ending corruption, and reining in spending -- all championed in Governor Jindal's own campaign -- won," said communications director Aaron Baer.

Cutting through the spin of who deserves credit (Jindal yes, Boehner no), what do the wins over the weekend coupled with the larger than expected margin for Chambliss mean for Republicans as the 2010 cycle begins in earnest?

On a practical level, not all that much. Chambliss was running in a state where President George W. Bush won 58 percent of the vote in 2004 and that has continued to move to the ideological right in the last two national elections even as the country has moved left. The open 4th district race in Louisiana -- by the numbers -- was Republicans' to lose as Bush won it with 59 percent in 2004 and retiring Rep. Jim McCrery (R) had held it easily since winning a special election in 1988.

In Louisiana's 2nd district, it's hard to extrapolate much at all from Jefferson's loss other than the fact that members of Congress who have been indicted on 16 counts of accepting bribes in exchange for legislative action have a hard time winning reelection. Cao, now being touted as the future face of the Republican party, raised less than $150,000 for the entirety of the race and benefited from simply being the guy on the ballot without a scandal hanging over his head.

Symbolically, however, the victories in Georgia and Louisiana do have some meaning for a party widely considered to be down and out on Nov. 5.

"While I don't think these victories mean that the GOP has miraculously fixed everything that is currently broken, I do think that they a really positive data points," said Alex Vogel, a prominent Republican strategist. "Just like the Democrats took advance comfort from the special elections they won leading up to the 2008 elections, we should certainly view these overtime wins as a sign that the sun is rising again."

Remember that much of politics is perception. The 2008 cycle was so disastrous for Republicans because their potential candidates, donors and activists all were dispirited about the party and what it stood for. As a result, few top tier candidates ran, fundraising flagged badly and the base of the party felt no incentive or urgency to turn out.

The wins in Georgia and Louisiana give Republicans something to rally around -- a not insignificant development given the massive losses the party suffered in 2006 and 2008. These victories do not solve the problems Republicans as a party face -- a shrinking base, a lack of clarity on core principles -- but they lay the foundation for at least the possibility of a comeback in 2010 and beyond.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 8, 2008; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: FixCam Week in Preview: The Politics of a Bailout
Next: Out of the Cabinet -- Where Do They Land?


we will keep on fighting obama and liberl's and there evil agenda that is trying to take our country into a godless and immoral society. we will not give up! we are fighing for our families and our children. obama and other liberal's want to destroy our freedom. obama disrespects our constitution by calling it flawed and negative. obama wants to pass things like FOCA which would destroy state rights to limit or make laws concerning abortion. obama is for ENDA and other like laws that would censor christian and conservative radio. obama is anti freedom, anti life and anti God ordianed marriage as is obvious by his opposition to state constitutional admendments that protect marriage. he also said he would repeal the federal defense of marriage act(DOMO)
we will stand by and watch this man take our country down and we will not allow our freedoms to be stolen from us. we will fight on!

Posted by: diaco7529 | December 11, 2008 6:04 AM | Report abuse

"By the time Obama won election, he had pretty much transformed himself into a Republican. His quiet non-combative style, peacemaking ability, pro-business stances and willingness to defend us militarily are all hallmarks of a Republican and less so of dewey-eyed Libs.

Perhaps, Mr. President-Elect, you'd consider switching sides?"

Posted by: jabailo

Like Bush and Cheney two shining examples of non combative style. And how about the peace they brought to the middle east....oh yummy how they made the world so much better.....What the hell are you smoking????

Posted by: Thatsnuts | December 9, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It's more like "Titanic" when the rich guy grabs a random kid so he can get on the lifeboat.
Cao isn't a serious Republican, he's been an independent all his life. Twenty minutes in the Republican congressional caucus and he'll likely be an independent again. He just joined the party so he could run against the guy caught taking a bribe.

Posted by: dijetlo | December 9, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I think the three wins by the Republicans of being not so much a case of good news but no more bad news. The Chambliss win was to be expected and the margin was similar to the Bush margin in 2004. For the most part the Democrats where not enthused due to election fatigue (remember it has been non-stop politics for the past year). The LA 4th was another race that should have been determined by the numbers and it was the Republican’s to lose. The LA 2nd was a fluke. I would have voted for the Republican rather than for William “Cold Cash” Jefferson for obvious reasons. The current Republican electorate is not growing and is shrinking over time. Time is on the Democrats side because of changing demographics (Karl Rove is no dummy; he was not for immigration reform because he has a big heart). The big key will be if the Democrats can govern and right now Obama is sending all the right signals.

Posted by: bradcpa | December 9, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

As a yellow dog Democrat who resides in the District, who actively supported Obama and every other Dem I could find, and who at one time actively supported Jefferson, I voted Cao--reluctantly. It was time for Jeff to go--no explanation of the cold cash to the voters was a big problem and the District did not need problems in Washington. Cao opens the door for Nagin (!) to run in 2 years, and have a good chance of beating him--if that happens, I might have to vote Republican again.

Posted by: cincinnatus27 | December 9, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Chris, they are indeed "on the march",but like lemmings back to the sea. You betcha, yup, yup. Gotta run as "Needles Markup" is having a sale and I gotta get my hair done.

Posted by: NotBubba | December 9, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Your argument about "just being on the ballot" against a candidate with 16 counts for bribary sounds like the argument for Obama as "the guy who won because he wasn't Bush."

Posted by: kenpasadena | December 9, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

"House Republicans will demonstrate our commitment to reform by holding ourselves to the HIGHEST POSSIBLE ETHICAL STANDARD..[and] presenting principled, superior solutions.." says Boehner....I say "Good luck with that!" Won't THAT be a change from the last decade of Repub control?.... Remember the Little Red Hen, who asked the animals to help her plant, weed and harvest the wheat. No one would help her, but they all lined up for a slice of the bread she made after all her hard work. Why won't the Repubs learn to cooperate and HELP Pres. Obama build a better United States for ALL of us. They are already opposing him when they don't even know what they are opposing yet! Silly Boehner and the rest of the Repubs --Didn't they learn about playing well with others in kindergarten? Sigh.

Posted by: crewmom | December 9, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

It's sorta like at the Battle of Hoth, in The Empire Strikes Back, when everyone cheers when they hear, "the first transport is away." Then the rebels get creamed...

Posted by: Slicer7 | December 9, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans on the march? LOL. No, not so fast. The GOP pick up the seat of a crocked incumbent Louisiana congressman and that sleaze ball Saxby Chambliss wins re-election in Georgia. The Louisiana win for the GOP is similar to the defeat of Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois in the mid 1990’s.

As for Chambliss, given the scurrilous campaign he ran against Max Cleland, I think he’s nothing more than a sleaze ball but he fits the mold of a good old Georgia conservative.

Posted by: talpdx | December 8, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Unlike GOP spin doctors, I don't think the victories mean anything either way. The Georgia runoff had extremely low turnout, and Martin would have had a tough time even with high turnout. As for Jefferson, he should have been voted out several cycles ago. Louisiana loves its corrupt politicians, but come on--Jefferson was beyond embarassing.

Republicans wish that they can run against opponents like Martin and Jefferson. Here's predicting that Cao will be voted out in 2010.

Posted by: leonardo8 | December 8, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

There's no evidence Jindal deserves credit for these victories aside from the fact that his candidates won. Hurricane Gustav deserves more credit for these victories than Jindal does. Without it pushing the general election back to December both of these seats most likely go to Democrats Nov. 4.

Posted by: jdunph1 | December 8, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't have any stats on this, but one could venture a guess that, at least in the Georgia election, the Dem turnout was significantly lower than the general (repubs usually do better with turnout in elections like these). In one sense, this renders the results slightly irrelevant, and appears to be more of an outlier. On the other hand, since there is no "Obama factor" in a mid-term election, are Dems going to lose some of the seats in 2010 that they gained thanks to an uncharacteristic enthusiasm this election cycle? Certainly, that enthusiasm will be diminished, and could spell bad news for some freshmen.

Posted by: terrencelong84 | December 8, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr. Cilliza's writings are on the mark. I think that many Dems will think less will be at stake for Democrats in 2010 and 2012 and will become complacent. If things do not get better by 2010 many will blame the Dems and not Bush. People will forget Bush in two years. I think he will not be as prominent as many former presidents like Carter and Clinton, whom we hear much about these days. Bush will slink away in obscurity, gladfully. By virtue of Obama being president the focus will be on him. If it is true as he says that the economic problems are deep, people will not give him a chance even if it is not of his making. (I think Obama's ideology of socialism has something to do with this economic downturn. Business are gearing up for what they see as an anti-business demagogue who will hurt business. He has no concept of how to run a business.) They will find someone to blame no matter how some in the media might want to sugarcoat it.

Posted by: 1inSuomi | December 8, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Jefferson didn't win,and he didn't deserve to win. Almost mirror image: see Ted Stevens get picked off by a Dem in Alaska.

Saxby Chambliss won because there are too many red rednecks in Georgia, and too few decent Republicans. He won the first time for the same reason. And for: calling a triple amputee Vietnam veteran (then incumbent Max Cleland) a traitor because he didn't support the invasion of Iraq. Shame on Georgia voters. Trash is what you asked for, trash is what you get. Chambliss is trash. Just to note: I am a born/bred Southerner.

Posted by: peck3 | December 8, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

armpeg Posted:

re. 'Are Republicans on the March?'
As a conservative Republican, I hope not until at least 2010 and hopefully not until 2012.

I want to see what happens when the Democrat Socialist Party and Barack Obama's Marxist agenda start to take hold in about 2 years, and when they have to pay back for all their promises they made to everybody in order to get elected. I want to watch from the sidelines, along with the Republican Party, and take no responsibility for anything that will happen. It'll be fun watching another Jimmy Carter administration do it's work and self-destruct. They'll blame Bush of course, but that'll ring hollow by then and be laughed at. By 2012 President George W. Bush's good economy, Homeland Security iniatives, and foreign affairs policies will be looking real good by comparison, I'm sure. Germans have a word for that' schadenfreude'. I'm self-employed so it wont affect me very much so it'll be fun.
If the Democrats top or even match what the Republicans have all ready done to this country you being "self-employed" won't save your arse. Further more, your gleeful desire to experience schadenfreude at the expense of America's destruction puts you in bed with the terrorist,the communist, and everyone else who have long to see the destruction of America.

I can't believe you allowed such a stupid communist comment come out of your mouth!! And to think being self-employed will safe you while the rest of the country is in total destruction is just plain idiotic and dangerous. Please recant what you said. It does sound very patriotic of you!!!

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | December 8, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"The difference between Optimists and Pessimists is that Pessimists are usually better informed." There is no silver lining in the current national or local political situations. Marxists will dominate for the foreseeable future due to the Self destructive Performance of the GOP from 2004 through 2008. Conservatives should be realistic about what happened and recognize the toxicity of the GOP to conservatism before deciding upon a course of action.

Posted by: wbeattymd | December 8, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

king_of_zouk |,
D*mn!!! can't believe you accused the Democrats of not knowing the three branches of government all the while you throw your support to Palin????

It is amazing how good you repubs are at projecting and delusion.

As for Chris Cillizza's article, I think Chris is trying to play his Liberal supports. I have been reading Chris' editorial for nearly three years now and never before have I read anything that comes close to supporting or agreeing with anything the right-wingers have said or done. And now the right-wingers have gotten the spanking they justly deserve and now Chris is decides to start drinking the RED kool-aid and spouting right-wing non-sense.


Posted by: SteelWheel1 | December 8, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza, I really hope you're not falling for this GOP talking point.

Look not at GOP v. Dems, but just Bill Jefferon and Jim Martin, neither of which are stellar candidate and it's actually suprising it took a run-off to beat them.

Posted by: Corey_NY | December 8, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Spin is certainly one constant. The truth is that political realities are going to be heavily influenced by the events that unfold over the next several years, the effectiveness of the Democrats in dealing with them, and the way the Republicans respond. The happy talkers are already complaining that Barack Obama is setting expectations that we are going to face growing problems for a while. If Obama builds a coalition that includes moderate Republicans that is seen to do a superior job dealing with these problems, the Democrats strength may continue to grow and persist for a long time. If a substantial proportion of the Republicans position themselves the way they did in September and contribute nothing but a no vote, the Republican party could be history.

Posted by: dnjake | December 8, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

And those wins were where? In the south!

Two wins does not a landslide make... or really even bump the needle much.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | December 8, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

EEtuwe wrote:
Unless the Democrats force a Senate steal on Colemans seat with Franken, Obama has absolutely Zero coattails. The Democrats have lost every post-Obama election bid held.

My Comment: What in the Sam Hill does Obama's post election coat-tails have to do with the Franken Coleman race. The votes were cast, the question is simply whether they will be counted. As for the "coat-tails", Jefferson's not a real test, that's like Rostenkowski losing in Illinois. A perfectly safe district that the Dem's lost for two years because of the legal problems of Rosty. And the Georgia Senate race is an example of the Republican's holding on to a seat that they should have held against a candidate that wasn't really running toward Obama.

The idea that this represents a "Republican comeback" is delusional.

Posted by: dcraven925 | December 8, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Cilizza conveniently forgets that Deomcrat Mary Jo Kilroy won yesterday in "overtime" and is headed to Congress as the first Democrat to represent any part of Franklin County, Ohio in a generation.

Posted by: jwoods3 | December 8, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse


First of all, Bill Martin lost the GA vote the first time around even when Obama was driving up Democratic turnout. That he lost again a month later was totally expected.

Second the fact that, Bill Jefferson, aka William Jefferson, aka I have $90 K in my freezer Jefferson, says nothing. He had a lot of baggage, to say the least. He held on to his seat last time around by the slimmest of margins with a vote tally in the mid-30s.

You are right that the Rs need something, but this is like rallying around a can of spam in a bomb shelter after a nuclear holocaust. It's great that you've got something to eat, but the outlook on every other front ain't great.

Posted by: MShake | December 8, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

If anything was on the minds of voters these past two weeks, it is these ripoff bailouts. Everyone I know, from the far left to the middle and to the far right, we are all very upset with these blank checks being handed out and no one being accountable.

Posted by: gckarcher | December 8, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

What the heck..let them have the South because that's all they will ever have..oh wait a minute,I live here too, and I will never vote for them!

Posted by: puredemo | December 8, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The head line of this piece is a joke, right? Republicans winning two seats in the deep south does not mean the GOP is on the march, it means they are running in place. Their far-right tilt has made them a regional party, and LA and GA are obviously part of that region.

Posted by: buckworthy | December 8, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Seems awfully early to talk about a Republican comeback. Hasn't anybody noticed how the media in general seem to be regarding Obama as president already, while Bush is getting buried ever deeper in ridicule? Let's wait till the last dirt has been tossed in that grave, and the funeral is over, before claiming that a resurrection is in progress -- say, March of 2009.

Posted by: SeattleVoter | December 8, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I love it...These marginal victories (that should have been GOP landslides)embolden the Palin wing of the party. Dear God, please give Mooselini just enough hubris to believe her own legend.

Sarah in 2012! Sarah, Sarah, Sarah...Chosen by God. Keep crashin' through those partially opened doors.

Permanent 25% minority!

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | December 8, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

a JACKBOOTED march...

republicans=american nazis

Posted by: kase | December 8, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse


You are grasping and need a fix. Your koolaid is stale. You also need remedial math.

In your third paragraph you say "three developments" are reason for optimism in 2010, yet you only cite two examples.

Or, did you expect to write that last week the recount for the Columbus, Ohio House seat resulted in the GOP keeping it, instead of losing it to a democrat for the first time in 42 years?

Also, it's pretty sad commentary to gleefully report the "upset" of a Congressman indicted for bribery.

On the march is correct: A march into the wilderness.

Posted by: wayoffbaseguy | December 8, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm really glad Jefferson lost in LA-2. I'd have voted for Cao too, and then worked to ensure I had a non-criminal D to vote for in '10.

Posted by: novamatt | December 8, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, I'm scared. Please. The GOP is in tatters. I got a great laugh last weekend. Saw an SUV with a "Palin-Jindal 2012" sticker on it. Yeah...that's a dream ticket...the witch doctor's apprentice and the exorcist. Niiiiice.

Posted by: soonerthought | December 8, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

One takeaway from LA-4 and GA-Sen is that the Ds still need to work at getting out their casual voters.

There are no easy answers to that other than contact, and there's no way to build and maintain contact other than building local party organizations, down to the precinct level, and staffing those organizations with local people who are motivated to elect Ds up and down the ballot.

Dean has started that. I'm eager to see who Obama installs as DNC chair to continue that building process.

Posted by: novamatt | December 8, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Umm, on its face this might look like a Republican victory and momentum shifter, but when you look closer, 2 out of 3 of these victories should actual be seen as Pyrrhic victories. Yes, Chambliss won, but wwhat the hell was he doing in a run off in the first place in a state that has been trending solidly R since 1992? It shows his weakness. Yes, Obama's momentum pushed Chambliss just under 50%, but it demonstrated a weakness not Republican strength. Come back and talk to me if this victory had been anywhere but the South. The Carmouche loss also reveals weakness. What Boehner decided to ignore was the fact that the Republican in LA-04 only won by 350 votes in an overwhelmingly Republican district. I don't think you take positives away from that. Just as the only good news in LA-02 is that Jefferson, our most corrupt national politician is finally gone, thank goodness and the voters. This is about as significant as Lampson in TX-22 or Mahoney in FL-16 in 2006. Yes, Dems won, but the seats returned to their natural party 2 years later, because scandal was the only reason for the ouster of the incumbants. Could you have seen Dems claiming a moral victory in 2006 if they had only won seats like KS-02, TX-22, or FL-16, probably not. These are local conditions that actually portend poorly for the GOP. For real bellweathers about the fortunes of the Republicans, we will need to wait for NJ gov, NYC mayor, LA mayor, and most importantly VA governor in 2009, and maybe special elections in the house that crop up.

Posted by: bradleyhirsh | December 8, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The republicans are living in a dream world, not reality.
They continue to poster, pander, point fingers and support out of date beliefs,
their ego's and give absolutely no attention to the fact they have almost destroyed out country. They are holding fundraisers to fight the left's agenda, regardless if this is the best thing for our country. They refuse to unify and help bring our country back to the greatness we once had. They could care less about us or the United States of America. How anyone can vote for them or support their dishonorable tactics is beyond me. Let's hope they fade off into oblivion as they do not deserve or are qualified to lead.

Posted by: kathlenec | December 8, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

This does nothing but help the Democrats in their effort to make the Republicans a regional, minority party. The wins were in the region the Democrats are willing to cede in return for a majority. The wins also provide ammunition to the Republicans who claim nothing is wrong so there is nothing to fix. "See, the 2006 and 2008 losses weren't about Republicans, it was purely the situation," is the demented reasoning that is the real key to the Democrats maintaining a majority. The Democrats are nearly done turning the Northeast into a one party system. Now let them work on the Midwest, Mid Atlantic, Florida, Southwest and northern Plains. See, if all the Republicans come from the same area, and you let them have it with only token opposition, they'll never notice anything is really wrong. They'll just keep preaching to the choir.

Posted by: caribis | December 8, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

After all the spin over the last eight years. After, just about bankrupting this country. After all the lies that were told. After the lost they received on Nov 4th. Which is just a little over a month ago. We now hear that the republicans are back in the saddle again. Who is fooling whom? Rep. Jefferson has been indidated, Sen. Chamliss is in a state that a democrate hasn't won since Pres. Carter. Again I ask, Who is fooling whom?

Posted by: jepearson1 | December 8, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes
"These victories do not solve the problems Republicans as a party face -- a shrinking base, a lack of clarity on core principles -- but they lay the foundation for at least the possibility of a comeback in 2010 and beyond."

If these wins do not solve the problems the Republicans face as a party, how do they lay the foundation for a comeback in 2010 and beyond? Were any of these wins the result of a clear policy debate where moderate voters were convinced that these candidates were the better alternative, or are they merely the results of one party's base being more enthused than the other? If there's exit polling data, it might be interesting to determine whether any self described independant / swing voters even cast ballots. If they didn't, the GOP haven't yet laid the first block in a new foundation on which to build.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile the GOP has lost three (pending confirmation of hick Virgil Goode's defeat) House seats in Virginia, two of them NOT in Northern Virginia.

So the blue-ing of Virginia continues. Keep crowing about GOP wins down in inbred country, Republotards!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 8, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Seems that Cillizia and the Republicans are both pretty delusional in the own ways.

Cilliza because he cherry-picks election info to say that the GOP is coming back. Well, if winning in safe red southern Republican districts is a come back, then Cilliza may be correct.

The Republicans are likewise delusional for believing what Cilliza wrote.

The GOP is rapidly becoming a small, meaningless regional southern political party. Relegated to wingnuts and the over 65's who collect their government social security checks while complaining about socialism.

The GOP ship has sunk and has been left behind by most everyone else.

Posted by: Continuum | December 8, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Cao is this year's Lampson. He is one and done.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 8, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

By the way, look at that map and click on the "voting shift" button.

You can see how the country has trended in the last four years. I don't think this is simply Obama coattails. It's something pretty drastic.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 8, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"The Republican party will end up being a regional party at best full of ideologues and fundamentalists."

Or they will evolve. Joseph Cao is hardly an ideological firebrand.

Although when someone like Sarah Palin is being touted as the new face of the party, its a good sign that the GOP haven't learned a thing.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 8, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, what this shows is that the Republican party is strong in the South and will continue to be strong there while much of the country (75%) will move towards the middle (e.g. Democrat Rep. Kilroy in Ohio).

The Republican party will end up being a regional party at best full of ideologues and fundamentalists.

Posted by: ovwong | December 8, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone say, "Grasping at straws?"

Posted by: nodebris | December 8, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

re. 'Are Republicans on the March?'
As a conservative Republican, I hope not until at least 2010 and hopefully not until 2012.
I want to see what happens when the Democrat Socialist Party and Barack Obama's Marxist agenda start to take hold in about 2 years, and when they have to pay back for all their promises they made to everybody in order to get elected. I want to watch from the sidelines, along with the Republican Party, and take no responsibility for anything that will happen. It'll be fun watching another Jimmy Carter administration do it's work and self-destruct. They'll blame Bush of course, but that'll ring hollow by then and be laughed at. By 2012 President George W. Bush's good economy, Homeland Security iniatives, and foreign affairs policies will be looking real good by comparison, I'm sure. Germans have a word for that' schadenfreude'. I'm self-employed so it wont affect me very much so it'll be fun.

Posted by: armpeg | December 8, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The only one of these elections that really constitutes a deviation from the expectation is the Jefferson race. Republicans are merely renting that seat until 2010.

Republicans winning in non-minority districts, or statewide in the Deep South is not news. If they had won an election in the industrial Midwest, on the West Coast, or in the Northeast---that would be news.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | December 8, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget...the corrupt and incompetent Republican Party got CRUSHED IN A LANDSLIDE a month ago. And they earned every bit of it by almost destroying America.

They're nothing but a party of America-hating snake-handling religious extremists now...soon to be extinct.

Let these drowning fools clutch at straws as they squeak out a couple would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

Posted by: wilder5121 | December 8, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

These wins are actually a double-edged sword: on the one hand, they give Republicans hope for a '94-style return, but on the other hand they encourage them to oppose Obama's initiatives for the next two years.

Since everybody expects the recession to last until at least 2010, it would be much wiser for the Republicans to allow Obama to get most of what he wants, then run on its "failure" - if they choose the other road, hoping to return to power in the midterms, they will allow Obama and the rest of the Democrats to run against them, arguing that they created the recession, and have been fighting tooth and nail to make it worse.

The Republicans are in for more losses for the next few years, and they are too stuck in their rut to do anything to stop it.

Posted by: dj333 | December 8, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Chris failed to mention the "take-back" of Cazayoux's(D-La)seat in Baton Rouge on 11/4. Thats got to have Melancon(D-La)(3rd. District) worried as the 3rd. is 55% Republican. Maybe he'll change affiliation like Tauzin did. In any event, he won't be voting with Pelosi's crowd any time soon.

Unless the Democrats force a Senate steal on Colemans seat with Franken, Obama has absolutely Zero coattails. The Democrats have lost every post-Obama election bid held.

Posted by: eteeuwe | December 8, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

If the repubs are just trying to rally themselves & find some bright spots in the dismal future of their party, sure, they can celebrate being 'on the march.' But if they really believe they've reversed the swing of the political pendulum they're in for a long stretch in the minority. For instance, I can't help but notice that while they're touting the three recent victorys noted by The Fix, they've failed to mention the loss of Uncle Ted in AK. Senator Finger-in-the-Wind's (MN) future is also cloudy.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 8, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

the fruits of Liberalism - ashes in your mouth:

NYT Broke - Mortgages Headquarters The New York Times Company plans to borrow up to $225 million against its mid-Manhattan headquarters building, to ease a potential cash flow squeeze

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 8, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris is right.. all these young voters that voted for Obama are not Democrats.. they're Obamacrats! These voters feel no loyalty to the Democratic party and certainly none to their leaders in Congress Reid and Pelosi. According to how well the government performs these next two years will decide if there is a change again in Congress. Meanwhile Bobby Jindal is the rising star in the Republican party. Whether he runs in 2012 depends probably on how popular Obama is. Jindal might wait till 2016.. he'll only be 45 then.

Posted by: sovine08 | December 8, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The filibuster ratio is interesting. It allows for some Republicans to show their mettle and vote with the Democrat majority. Wanna bet John McCain will be one of these?

Posted by: spearburning | December 8, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

A New Orleanian and a Democrat through-and-through, I still voted for the Republican, Joseph Cao, simply because he is not Bill Jefferson. Though I do not support Republican policy generally, even more than that, I cannot support a corrupt politician. I think part of Cao's success was because of the support of Democrats or independents sick of Jefferson and willing to vote for anyone else. I don't think this should be viewed as any endorsement of the GOP brand.

Posted by: stephenkroll | December 8, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

America want nothing more to do with Rove's commie GOP.

The only people left suppoting the commie GOP are whiners, crazy McCain lady and self cutters, oh and RoboGOP.

Posted by: walker1 | December 8, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Could these wins just be manufactured by regional circumstances? Turnout was key in GA and LA, with numbers dropping significantly from the Election Day turnout boosted by Obama. That's what killed Jefferson and Martin.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 8, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

If winning a Senate seat in Georgia, and beating a Congressman that is under INDICTMENT on 11 counts of bribery is sign of the Republican resurgance then the Democrats are doing just fine. Last time I checked Kay Hagan, Mark Warner, The Udalls, and Mark Begich are still sizing up thier new drapes in Washington.

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 8, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Republibamas on the march?

The Catholic University field hockey team has sterner stuff than the RNC!


Posted by: bs2004 | December 8, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Short answer is no, the long answer is also no.

What everyone seems to be forgetting is that the Georgia Senate was not thought to be competitive until the last month of the general election. If anything, the narrative should be how Obama turned what was thought to be a safe seat into a competition. With Obama no longer on the ballot, Martin was toast.

As for Dollar Bill Jefferson, I refer you to the 1997 special election for NM-03. A heavily democratic seat, the Republicans ran Bill Redmond and the Dems ran a crook named Eric Serna. Because the Dems ran a horrible candidate, the Green Party candidate took 17% of the vote and Redmond was elected by less than 3000 votes.

What happened to Redmond? He went on to lose re-election in 1998 to then state attorney general and now Senator-elect Tom Udall.

The point is, Cao was elected because of depressed turnout and as a protest against Jefferson. Barring a run by one of Jefferson's family members, Cao will very likely lose in 2010.

Oh and congrats to Fleming, he leads by about 300 votes in a district McCain won by 19%.

Now if the GOP manages to win a seat like Xavier Baccera's, then I'll give you credence. Until then, I argue that the results are further proof of the regionalization and marginalization of the GOP. They dominated the Southern white vote and it looks it will remain that way while the Dems expand westward.

Posted by: Liebercreep | December 8, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Democrats need to proceed with their 50 state strategy - begun by Howard Dean. This strategy was extremely helpful in the Democratic win this year.

Posted by: lynettema | December 8, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Two Republican seats in the deep South is pretty much a harbinger for a Republican landslide, all right. If it's in the Washington Post, it must be true.

Chris reminds me of a little kid at Christmas: "Look at this huge pile of manure, Daddy - I'll bet the pony Santa brought me is around here somewhere."

Posted by: WindEnergy | December 8, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Agree. Democrats must also make sure their new recruits are above reproach. I predict that the Republicans WILL be obstructionists as much as possible which may lead to a filibuster proof majority in 2010. I also predict that the Republicans will clog up the courts with these frivolous law suits like the Obama citizenship suit.

"The pressure is on Democrats to deliver. They have to do so to keep the trend in their favor. But the GOP should be cautious. If they are perceived as standing in the way of economic recovery with obstructive tactics, the 2010 elections may show the GOP hasn't bottomed out yet."

Posted by: AlaninMissoula

Posted by: lynettema | December 8, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd sure hate to begin building much of a building on that foundation. Of course, dreams sometimes become reality.

Posted by: neabas | December 8, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Depite the GOP crowing, the win in Georgia was by no means an affirmation. Had Democrats fielded a candidate whom Georgians could get excited about, instead of the decent but colorless Jim Martin, perhaps... But apparently decency is not part of the voting calculus in Georgians, considering the character of Chambliss, a notorious slanderer, election fixer and special interest stooge. Even so, Chambliss neeeded a runoff to win.

Two years from now, Dems will have a chance to negate the Chambliss win, either by unseating Chambliss's equally noisome colleague Johnny Isakson -- an unlikely event considering the reactionary bent of Georgia voters -- or picking up a couple more seats elsewhere for their filibuster-proof majority.

Posted by: lbjack | December 8, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse


Given the way the Rs are trying to spin their "momentum" from La. and Ga., what's their take on the Democratic takeover of Deborah Pryce's seat in Ohio?

Posted by: greenmountainboy | December 8, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, with the traditional GOP base shrinking rapidly, the two bright spots for the Republicans in Louisiana happen to be Asian-Americans: Jindal is an Indian-American and Cao is a Vietnamese-American. It looks like traditional old country-club Republicans are going to have to start admitting some of "those people" if they want to have a chance at getting back into the game. And Sarah Palin's "real Americans" [Gomer Pyle and Joe Six-Pack] are going to have to get used to the fact that within a couple of decades it is they are going to be the minority. It's about time - the question is: are the Republicans still so wed to their troglodyte mentalities and fears of "the other" that they will be unable to adapt?

Posted by: soh1 | December 8, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow Chris, you're taking quite a lot of abuse on this one for what seemed to me like some very tempered comments and analysis. Whether you think that winning these seats or not was a great accomplishment for the Republican party, you can at least admit that it's non-negative news for them. As Chris said, at this point in time, the Republicans need something non-negative to hang their hat on. I think some of it was Obama's appeal, some of it was the districts these elections were in and some of it was fear of too much change all at once. They've heard a lot about what could happen with this "Filibuster Majority."

Posted by: andygoldman | December 8, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Republicans on the march???? Yeah, except for the presidency, house, senate and a large majority of governors, they got it all and it couldn't look better! wow! imagine an incumbent republican senator carrying georgia! and a republican winning a house seat that was republican for the past two decades! beyond trend! it's a sheer runaway!

Posted by: johndog | December 8, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Of course the GOP is going to "spin" these things as best they can. But the fact is, they were going to take big losses in Congress even without a win from Obama. The fast is also that it was an "upset" of sorts for the Georgia Senate to even be thrown into a runoff. No one expected Saxby was in any trouble until shortly before the gteneral election.

Likewise, the Cao win a a largely safe black district is due only to the scandal over Jefferson, who could have done his party a service by resigning congress, or at least not running for re-election.

Neither of these things can be represented as a "trend" by any but those Republicans who still wear big blinders. (You know, the ones who still insist we are a "center-right" nation in spite of the election results.)

The pressure is on Democrats to deliver. They have to do so to keep the trend in their favor. But the GOP should be cautious. If they are preceived as standing in the way of economic recovery with obstructive tactics, the 2010 elections may show the GOP hasn't bottomed out yet.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | December 8, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

NumbersUSA rates Chambliss A for fighting legal immigration and amnesty. We don't need more 3rd worlders to feed and school and house and medicare while we have to take care of UAW workers health and retirement benefits. We need to stop immigration including no student visas and no "asylum"
or H-1b or family reunification or anchor baby or visa lottery or anything else white guiltists like Lindsey Graham and John McCain advocate to inflict harm on us.

Posted by: OldAtlantic | December 8, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Republicans fighting for their political lives in the deep red south? Republicans barely surviving a run-off against a democrat who is all but a convicted felon? Sounds like a democratic victory to me. Leave it to the "liberal media" to trumpet it as a great victory for the glorious GOP!

Posted by: flavor13 | December 8, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

It's good to have a dream. LA was fed up with Jefferson, that seat was low-hanging fruit. Chambliss' seat is in a district where Republicans are traditionally strong. It would have been bigger news if Democrats had won either of these races than that Republicans did. That's what you get for quoting John Bohner ("shut up, Beavis.")

What's striking about this perspective is the fact that "leading" Republicans so clearly indicate that they think Washington is a gigantic fraternity. They absolutely refuse to acknowledge that it is not Obama's personal charisma, but their own bankrupt philosophy, that cost them this election.

Zouk-drivel aside, The Republicans have been in charge of the White House, Congress, or both, for the entire period fron January 1981 to the present, with the brief exception of the 94th Congress (1993-1994). To blame the condition of the US economy on Democratic leadership to declare 36 years of almost-continuous Republican rule never happened.

The Republican party line is ideological, idealistic, and totally detached from reality. The worst of our current economic situation stems from Republicans' utter and abject failure to understand how markets work, what their limitations are, and how they can fail.

They have turned bad scholarship into doctrine, and enacted flawed doctrine into bad policy. Their bad policy decisions have systematically gutted this nation's financial strength, and not even in retrospect do they comprehend what they've done.

For instance, a consumption-driven economy is driven and supported by demand for goods and services, but Republican policy has worked systematically to improve balance sheets at the expense of labor costs. This can work for a brief span of years, but when you systematically impoverish the demand side of the economic equation, don't be surprised to find you've impoverished the entire economy as a side-effect.

Simple, perfectly logical syllogisms are incomprehensible to Republicans because they've adopted an ideology that has no relationship with reality. Until the Republican party makes a critical examination of its internally-inconsistent doctrine, we just can't afford to ever again let them govern.

Posted by: lonquest | December 8, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Worse than the GOP, Cillizza is the real tool here. The GOP wins a Senate seat in one of the reddest states in the country, a picks up a House seat held by a convict.

Sounds like a national wave to me!

How any self-respecting "pundit" would write such obvious panderama is beyond me. Chris, your reputation's in the toilet!

Posted by: ethanquern | December 8, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

It's always hard to figure who is more ignorant, the pundits or republicans themselves,

Posted by: timebanded | December 8, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I like how the hack King_of_zouk has to attack obama for not getting his dog yet to find something wrong with what Obama has done since being elected.

Think about what you just said Zouk... Bush messed up this country for 15 years and Obama can't pick a dog.... yeah you are a tool!

Posted by: Kman23 | December 8, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

There is no limit to a Republican's ability to self-delude. Remember, GW Bush was put into the White House by JC himself to save a Christian America. Let them believe what they want. They'll spend 40 years in the political wilderness for worshiping false idols.

Posted by: thebobbob | December 8, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

How's work on the Bush I donor list going? Got to see who Bush II rewarded with government business. Right?
The Justice Dept is on it!
Karl Rove has turned his email over to Alberto Gonzales & Bill and Laura Canary . Sure.
Rove has responded to subpenas....oh Rove doesn't have to.
Let's get this right....Rove gets to change lies before the Fitzgerald exposed for acting outside his role as executive advisor...then gets to continue to pretend he has not been exposed for extra legal domestic political manipulations.
Why should any American respond to a court subpena or ever turn over evidence to law enforcement?

It would seem skipping from the legal stonewalling of the Rove/Bush administration to the future Obama tenure is just the kind of escapism millions of Americans who got dumped by corporate America before X-MAS bonus time do not want.

How much long before you guy start the WMD scare about Pakistan?
After all.....we at least KNOW Pakistan is exporting terror.
Stop the madness!

Posted by: mikepiedmont | December 8, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

By the time Obama won election, he had pretty much transformed himself into a Republican. His quiet non-combative style, peacemaking ability, pro-business stances and willingness to defend us militarily are all hallmarks of a Republican and less so of dewey-eyed Libs.

Perhaps, Mr. President-Elect, you'd consider switching sides?

Posted by: jabailo | December 8, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Repubs on the MARCH?" Are you kidding? Another pathetic article by Chris claiming two Repub wins in the most conservative southern States in the US are somehow an indication that tide is turning against the Dems before Obama is EVEN IN OFFICE!

C'mon Chris, surely you have something better to write about then building a case like this out of thin air!

I suspect 2010 will result in even more Democratic Congressmen joining the House and the should probably wait until then to write trash like this!

Posted by: wagonjak1 | December 8, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"So it is good news that the Republicans can win elections this way? The LA election was in an area where many Dems had to move away, and against a corrupt pol who had his office raided by the FBI. The GA election was a runoff because the Republican couldn't get to 50% -- in Georgia!

These wins are hardly good news for the GOP."

Also, Republicans are going to have to start hiding their positions on the issues, kind of like what Cao did. Heck, I don't think he even advertised his political party.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 8, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@king_of_zouk: When you start throwing around phrases like "PeLousy Congress", you sound just like a intellectually deficient Rush Limbaugh listener. Hence, you have ZERO credibility.

Posted by: DJShay | December 8, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

They're right. Democrats won't fare as well when Obama isn't on the ballot. But this is no turnaround. If you truly believe that LA-2 is now a red district, you are delusional.

Don't forget that Democrats actually took more seats in 2004 than in 2008. (part of that being that there were plenty more seats to take that year.)

Posted by: DDAWD | December 8, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Dem logic again. Losses are good?????

The Libs only won at all because they are so gullible and ignorant. Imagine actually believing any of Barack's promises. didn't you learn from all the broken PeLousy promises?

the Lib voters don't even know the three branches of government, don't even know who is in charge of congress, don't even know their own Reps.

you have to be that stoopid and ignorant to vote D. and want Barack O'Claus to bring you prosperity in your stocking.

It is clear he is way over his head and still can't even decide what kind of dog to get, much less what the government should be doing. his ideas for change are populated by changing every single thing he said while running for office. I heard hillary had no foreign policy experience, except drinking tea, I heard that the bush war mongers were all wrong, etc.

the PT Barnum President has arrived.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 8, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse


Chris: If the guys setting up the straw men have your ear, at least try to knock them down!

It does appear that the Obama administration faces an onslaught of directed messaging intended to erode its legitimacy even before the President-elect takes the oath of office.

A prime example: the lead story building that Politico gave yesterday to the impending Supreme Court decision on the lawsuit seeking to declare Obama ineligible for the presidency -- a suit pushed to the court's agenda by Justice Clarence Thomas.

The court predictably refused without comment to hear the case.

If pundits advance theories such as those offered by your GOP pollster/strategist friends, I'd like to hear what those on the opposite side have to say about their ideas.


Not as long as government-supported extrajudicial targeting squads are "community stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:


Posted by: scrivener50 | December 8, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

So it is good news that the Republicans can win elections this way? The LA election was in an area where many Dems had to move away, and against a corrupt pol who had his office raided by the FBI. The GA election was a runoff because the Republican couldn't get to 50% -- in Georgia!

These wins are hardly good news for the GOP.

Posted by: nrudy | December 8, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It seems you can fool the people some of the time. but once the actual policies and programs of the Libs start emerging, and the dimwit Lib voters who thought the Repubs had been in charge all this time and were responsible for the downturn (blame it on the PeLousy congress), the high tide of socialism has been reached. Mark the wall. It can only go down from here. thank goodness.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 8, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company