In a bid to woo what it sees as the “sensible center” and prevent massive losses in November’s election, Democratic officials released a new video as part of an effort to focus voter attention on Republican candidates with "tea party" ties espousing positions that appear out of the political mainstream.
It is a compilation of news clips featuring statements by eight Republican candidates for governor, US senator, and member of Congress. They include tea party standard bearers like Senatorial candidates Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sharron Angle of Nevada, Linda McMahon of Connecticut, and Joe Miller of Alaska.
In the three-minute video, Ms. Angle is described as favoring the phase out of Social Security, Mr. Paul struggles with an answer on civil rights legislation, Ms. McMahon talks about 2 year-olds watching violent wrestling programs produced by a company she owns, and Mr. Miller is said to feel unemployment compensation is not constitutionally authorized.
The video ends with the tag line: “The Republican Tea party 2010. Imagine, these people could represent you."
“Conspiracy theories, rants – there is certainly an element of the electorate that is charged up by that,” CNN quoted Representative Van Hollen as saying. “But again, I think it is a turn off to the sensible center and the people who constitute the key independent voters in these swing districts. They see that kind of stuff and they say, ‘we don’t want to go there…. These guys are way off on the right.' "
Van Hollen claimed that Democrats would hold the House, in part because of voter concern regarding GOP candidate's far-right views. “I can assure you that despite the Washington summer political chatter, reports of the House Democrats’ demise are greatly exaggerated.”
But independent observers think otherwise.
Charlie Cook, (no relation) editor and publisher of the nonpartisan and widely respected Cook Political Report, says that based on current conditions Republicans will pick up between 35 and 45 House seats, five to seven Senate seats, and three to five Governors. The GOP needs to pick up 39 seats to take control of the House. They would need to pick up 10 Senate seats to control that body, where Republicans currently have 41 votes.
Weak economic growth is a key problem for Democrats that no video is likely to solve. In a widely watched speech Friday, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said, "the prospect of high unemployment for a long period of time remains a central concern of policy."