Rep. Israel: “Being in the Minority Sucks.”

Lots of lawmakers lament the state of affairs when their party loses the majority in Congress and the voters relegate them to the minority.

But such a twist of fortune has granted Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) what he describes as one of the best jobs in the world.

Democrats are now fighting to regain the majority in the House. And Israel is the man they've tapped to do it, as the tapped him to run the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). That's the national organization dedicated to electing Democrats to the House.

"Being in the minority sucks," blurted Israel Wednesday as he entered the room for his first, formal chat with reporters.

Israel says he's a military history buff. He says successful field marshals know three things: the terrain, the climate and how to exploit both. Which is what he's trying to do in 2012 as the Democrats aim to claim 25 seats from the GOP.

"We're not going to get 25 seats based on Republican missteps," Israel says. But he notes that a number of votes already taken in the House are helping him build his case against Republicans.

"That's why you see buyer's remorse set in," the Long Island Democrat said. "Every day they make my job easier."

During his chat with reporters, Israel dismissed suggestions by Republicans that the reallocation of Congressional seats, spurred by last year's census, would help the GOP in 2012.

"Redistricting is a Rubik's Cube. For every action there is a reaction," Israel said, suggesting that the musical chairs of districts might not boost Republican efforts. "It's a zero-sum game."

But none of Israel's efforts impressed Republicans. In fact, Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) dismissed Israel's optimism on what was described as a "giant-sized ego."

"(He) will have a hard time winning anything until they admit why their party was rebuked by voters in the first place," Lindsay said.

Meantime, Israel is focusing on recruitment. Israel has worked the phones and the airports to draft potential candidates for next year. Or, in one case, possible draft former lawmakers to make a comeback.

Israel confirmed that he's exchanged "several" emails with former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD). Herseth Sandlin was a moderate Democrat whose star was rising until she lost to Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) in a slugfest last fall.

"We would love to have Stephanie Herseth Sandlin back," Israel said.

A poll published in late January by Public Policy showed Herseth Sandlin defeating Noem in a hypothetical rematch.