Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pelosi's Silving Lining: 2010 Isn't 1994 (Part II)

Part I is here.

The silver lining for Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats going into 2010 is that they don't have as many vulnerable open seats to defend. Isaac Woods recently picked up this meme at the History News Network. As I said in Part I, the Democrats have one open seat that's almost certainly a goner (Louisiana 3rd) and two other swing districts they'll have to defend (New Hampshire 2nd and Pennsylvania 7th). With a few vulnerable seats on the Republican side (Illinois 10th and Pennsylvania 6th) the opens seats look like a wash.

Another silver lining, related to 1994, is that Democrat incumbents in safe Democrat districts are, no surprise, rather safe. You need to be a corrupt Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to be knocked out even in a wave year. So far 2010 is like 1914 in that respect.

The vulnerable Democrat incumbents don't come from safe Democratic districts but swing ones. I don't think there's a Democrat incumbent out there in a district where Obama was over 55% that really has to worry about reelection--unless they mess it up on their own.

The concern for the Democrats are the 49 Democrat incumbents sitting in districts won by John McCain and the additional Democrat incumbents in swing districts narrowly won by Barack Obama. This includes the trio of "Oboomers" (Glenn Nye, Larry Kissell, Steve Driehaus), Democrats that won in traditionally Republican seats by riding Barack Obama's coattails and strong African-American turnout. I would argue these guys are even more vulnerable than their McCain district colleagues because they failed to fool McCain voters last time around. At least we know the Democrats in McCain districts know enough about how to play the game to fool some of the people some of the time.

(Given Nye's strong vulnerability, Eric Cantor's use of kid gloves against him is all the more unusual).

But 2010 is going to be a year when a lot of voters wise up. They'll look at what is going on in Washington. They won't like it. And that good "conservative" Democrat they've been voting for? Turns out he's been backing Nancy Pelosi all along.

All told, I think Nancy Pelosi is looking at loosing 30 to 35 seats from her Democrat majority. That will easily be enough to remove her from her position as Speaker and clear the way for Steny Hoyer of Maryland to become Speaker of the House. Assuming there are no surprises . . .

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