Tuesday Must-Reads: Advice from Shrum

Democratic consultant Bob Shrum has some advice for Congressional Democrats battling GOP health care critics.


Democratic consultant Bob Shrum has some advice for Congressional Democrats battling GOP health care critics. In a piece for The Week magazine, Shrum slams the opponents of the president’s plan as “liars” who are “breeding conspiracy theories and falsehoods” about health care reform…

But what matters is how Democratic Senators react to all this propaganda. Along with the public, they are its real targets. If they panic, health care is lost. But it won't be President Obama who's broken by the defeat; as the economy recovers, he'll probably be a safe bet for reelection. Instead, Democrats in Congress would pay the price for the defeat of health care in the looming midterms—which is just what happened in 1994.

Shrum, who is an infamous 0-for-8 when it comes to advising presidential campaigns, predicts that Democrats will ultimately have to go it alone in Congress on healthcare, which he thinks is just fine. But if health care falls apart, he warns of potential electoral disaster for Congressional Dems next year.In Pennsylvania, Rep. Joe Sestak is finally making it official. Sestak will announce a primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter Tuesday. In a recent interview with Politics magazine, Specter’s campaign manager Chris Nicholas talked about the efforts to pressure Sestak out of the race, which he didn’t exactly discourage. As for the race, Chris Cillizza offers a few reasons it won’t be a cakewalk for Specter even despite the support of the president and the rest of the Democratic establishment. Stu Rothenberg has an early look at next year’s top U.S. Senate races. He sees a significantly improved electoral landscape for Republicans…

Democrats no longer have the momentum they once possessed. Even more important, signs of some Democratic vulnerability have appeared, giving the National Republican Senatorial Committee opportunities to shoot at, rather than forcing it to play an entirely defensive game, as it has the past two cycles.

Rothenberg points to Illinois and Connecticut as two of the biggest trouble spots for Democrats, and while he says the majority party still has some advantages, “I can imagine a scenario where Democrats do not gain Senate seats in 2010.”And in New Jersey there’s more bad news for Gov. Jon Corzine. A new poll out today has Republican challenger Chris Christie up by 14 points. A full 58 percent of voters disapprove of Corzine in this latest poll.Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. sdaprile@politicsmagazine.com

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