Yesterday marked 100 days till the election. For most people over 30, 100 days is a very short period of time. Time flies by when you are older, and this election cycle is no exception. However, founding father Ben Franklin said, “a week is a long time in politics.” He said that when horses were the dominant method of transportation and way before the telegraph was invented.
Although John Boehner is licking his chops in anticipation of becoming Speaker of The House, I caution him to not get too excited. I was covering Washington in 1994 when the Democrats lost power and this does not have the same feeling. It was so bad in 1994 that after the election the Democratic National Committee set up an employment center along with resume writing workshops for the hundreds of Hill staffers who lost their jobs. Although there will be a significant loss of seats from the Democratic side, I don’t think they are going to lose the House or Senate.
Real Clear Politics has about 31 toss up races in the House and ten in the Senate. It is true that the GOP is, as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says, “within striking distance” in the House. If 50 percent of those 31 seats go to the GOP, they will be within two or three seats of the majority. The Senate will remain in Democratic hands.
So, what needs to happen in the next 99 days? The Democrats need to go on the offensive. As radio host Thom Hartmann says, they should make ads showing the Republican members of Congress smiling when they cut the ribbon on all those local stimulus projects. Information should be made widely available as to how members voted on projects to get America moving.
There is much to be learned from how the Tea Party has made their case, as they have questioned how money is spent. After the financial problems of late 2008 and 2009, there was a lot of money spent and Republicans have felt it was for naught. It is time to ask the Republicans what they would have done to stem the tide of financial ruin other than cutting taxes? Someone needs to ask why they have tried to stand in the way of cities and counties putting in their own broadband rather than having to work through corporations? For instance, in my school friend’s race in Ohio, Lee Fisher has been hammering away at the job record of Rob Portman, President George Bush’s Trade Representative. Lee is not afraid to take on Portman’s record.
If the Democrats want to keep the House and Senate they must try some rough and tumble politics. They are going to have to take the gloves off. Old Ben Franklin said that a week was a long time and right now there are fourteen weeks left to the midterm elections. That’s practically an eternity.
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a FOX News contributor.
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