February 13th, 2009
04:10 PM ET
4 years ago

Are Dems in trouble in 2010, or not?

Van Hollen, left, and Menendez head the DCCC and the DSCC respectively.
Van Hollen, left, and Menendez head the DCCC and the DSCC respectively.

(CNN) - They’re on the same team, but the House and Senate Democratic campaign chiefs appear to be looking at different playing fields when it comes to the political environment their party will face in 2010.

A day after Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez predicted big Democratic gains in two years, his counterpart in the House said he doesn't expect the party will see a "third wave" and would be happy just to "hold the line."

“If you look at first midterm elections historically, the president’s party loses seats,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman, said at a forum in Washington in remarks reported by Politico.

“The historical trend is pretty clear for Democrats,” he concluded.

The president's party has historically lost seats in a midterm election, especially when that party controls both houses of Congress and the White House. The Democratic Party’s decades-long majority status in Congress ended with the first midterm of the Clinton presidency.

But speaking to reporters Thursday, Menendez discounted that trend, and said he was targeting nine currently held GOP seats, and had an excellent shot at winning many of them given the fact several Republican senators are retiring.

But ultimately, Van Hollen predicted, the fortunes of the Democratic Party will depend on how the country's flagging economy performs over the next two years.

“The political challenge will be if the economy doesn’t turn the corner, and trying to explain that,” Van Hollen said.


Filed under: House • Senate
soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. San

    I am going to make it my business to help get as many Democrat votes as possible for any state! I am sick and tired of Repugs. When it came to bailing out rich people they were there.When it comes to helping out Middle America they can't do it! Enough is enough!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake up red states!!!!!!!

    February 13, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. Susan in NC

    For those of you 'screaming' about Congress not having time to read the stimulus bill - you're nuts! That's just a stall tactic! They've been working on this bill for weeks and they know what's there and what's not - it's been "dissected" so many times, they probably have it semi-memorized by now. 90% of it hasn't changed since they began debating it and surely they have managed to find the time to read or be informed about the other 10%. They all need to grow up and learn how to work like the rest of us!

    February 13, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. Obama - NOPE

    The Republicans will be borrowing an old Democrat tune:

    "Happy Days Are Here Again
    Republicans Are Back Again
    So Let's Sing a Song of Cheer Again
    Republicans Are Back Again"

    February 13, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    OK today it says that 3 out of 5 Americans WANT the Bush administration to be investigated, with that you think the GOP will gain power again in 2010? I think the Republicans with their "unity" opposing Obama is the same thing they did to another popular Democratic president, Clinton. After that they had Newt's "Contract with America" and had a few years in power, but the average American with a brain saw how that little adventure turned out. President Obama, still new on the job, had a few bumps and some in the press and on the far right are ready to throw him out of office already. Yet the man STILL has a 65 to 70% approval rating among the American people so they had best be careful with their Limbuagh plan of hoping he will fail. America and the rest of the world are watching them.

    February 13, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. KFR

    You give Obama three weeks to solve this mess and ,of course, he can't and neither could you but why don't you go trade shoes with him and see if you do any better. This president has one hurdle after another fired at him and you think he could pull miracles. What people sow they eventually reap so keep on complaining and whining and not giving someone a chance.

    February 13, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. TheMason

    I think Rep. Van Hollen is actually pretty sober in his outlook while Sen. Menedez displays an arrogant level of hubris. Despite all the good vibrations about the Democrat's White House and Congressional victories, things are not all that rosey for the Democrats.

    Polls show that while Obama is very popular: 1) Congress (which has been Democratic for going on three years not) has a lower approval rating than Bush. 2) The Democrats now own the current policy...and polls show about 2/3 of the American people think we're on the wrong track.

    Then there is history.

    In 1992 Bush the Elder lost re-election in the midst of a recession. Then in 1994 the decades long Democratic control of Congress came to an end.

    In 1928 FDR (one of two presidents Obama is emulating) ran against Hoover on a similar platform of change. He blasted the failed policies of the Republicans. THEN he took Hoover's policies to a higher level in the New Deal. And let's not forget there is an academic debate amongst economists on whether or not the New Deal fixed or deepened the Great Depression.
    Fast forward eighty years and you have Obama running on change from failed policies. Now he is pushing a stimulus package that appears exceptionally similar to policies implemented in the last months of the Bush presidency. The same policies that many perceive as putting us on the wrong track.

    The difference between 1928 and 2008 is Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11 and WMDs. Trust in the government is not what it used to be. Also, Americans have developed an expectation for immediate gratification. If in 2 years things are not looking significantly better the Democrats WILL be in trouble. Especially in the House.

    February 13, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. Conrad

    Jesus you liberals are just clueless. I love how the liberals can never just look at the facts and determine a correct course to follow.

    Mike NC-Clueless
    Denver Dem-Clueless
    Sammyo41-Clueless

    People learn how to logically look at situations!! Try thinking for yourself or maybe move to California. California is a prime example of what happens when you let the looney Liberals run things. That State Legislature is completely wacked!! We need a lot more moderates on both sides for America to move forward.

    February 13, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. MT

    I just wish that the GOPs would have had shown some "Balls" before they allowed Bush to F**K up the country! It's really sad to see old men act like spoiled children. Its really a sad sight to see! Handle your business Mr. President, thats why you where elected!

    February 13, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Marshall

    If it wasn't for the Republicans messing up the economy we would be in a better world. Rush is a drug addictive so what do he care about his country he didn't even think much of himself.

    February 13, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Soldier 4 OBAMA

    Well in the House I think they need to CHANGE that guy, we don't hold lines, we advance and there is room and energy to advance. He need to stop believing the GOP mantra and b an effective leader. We need visionaries in the Progressive Democratic Party. I am with Bob Mendez, the Senate will gain at a minimum 9 seats and the most 12. The house will gain at least 20 regardless and that should be their focus we need a 310 Majority in the House and it will happen. The people are more concious than ever and the GOP is just as incompetent as ever!

    February 13, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. Wisest one of All

    After the racist empty suit hussein nobama and his yes man congress destroy this country the democraps will be voted out. Proven Fact!

    They don't have any plans for helping the U. S and don't care about citizens of this country. Another Proven Fact!

    February 13, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. mw

    Rush and other terrorist types may hope so

    February 13, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. Simmy

    Are you Cojo or Kujo?

    Remember your guy, Bush? Right. He's the one that spent trillions in Iraq. He even started a 50M building there that was never finished – money wasted. Yet your guys are crying about a Bill that still isn't big enough. You should be ashamed of a party that is so disruptive and bitter. Their unstatesmenlike conduct is a poor reflection on any group of people. To call them patriotic is stretching it. They are more like American's Al-Qaida.

    February 13, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. Brandon

    Wow I should have read the comments before I posted mine. I'm left with the feeling now that young people are hell bent on a new party. A new way of doing things. I think we're gonna shake things up.

    February 13, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Left coast

    Lets have the rest of the Libs have a tax audit..I see Mr. hot shot richardson is running for his politcal life..see how many more mistakes there are out there///

    February 13, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. jocolumbo

    HELL NO! The republicans got us into this mess and now the Democrats are trying to get us out! Bush would still be sitting on it, waiting for something to hatch!

    February 13, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. big papa

    Prosecute TREASONOUS Republicants...

    ...ALL of them...

    February 13, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. amf

    I feel this bill is a waste of taxpayers money. Money going to unions and a,c,o,r.n will not stimulate jobs. Just a lot of money for nothing. Do I think that this will have a great impact on the elections. Yes it will, when the voting public finally realizes that they are in a worse spot then before.

    February 13, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. Robert

    After two years of BS from BO and the Pelosi/Reid line of baloney – all Democrats.......starting now – should realize that BO could care less about your individual positions but is only interested in his own. The same goes for Pelosi and Reid. When this POS stimulas package that will NOT HELP MIDDLE America is revealed as the fraud that it is – all Dems are up for change..........the change they may not like but the change that each and every person who earns under $80K per year will think about when they buy that new car and do NOT get the tax break.....and the change that they may not like when every VET who cannot get increased benefits that they need and deserve CANNOT GET but the bathrooms at the VA look great. That is when the Dems will understand that people want fairness for ALL........not their select few!!!!!

    February 13, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. tee

    HELL NO!!!!!

    February 13, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. tee

    H TO THE DOUBLE L NO

    February 13, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  22. Larry

    The Democrats are not in trouble in 2010 if CNN stays bias and continues to censor any negative comments about their party or their man.Covering for the Democrats seem to be the only way the Dems will be able to get away with the poor job that is being done.

    February 13, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Dawn

    There is not 1 earmark in the bill. Lookup what an earmark is if you don't agree, you need to educate yourself. Any spending in a bill would have some that say it's not the right spending, but you have to spend to stimulate and there will NEVER be a stimulus bill where everyone agrees on every piece. Everyone, except the very wealthy will be hurting if this economy does not turn around. Why would anyone wish for people to be without work or food or medical care? What has happened to America. Those of us that have resources should be willing to pay a little more in taxes to prevent a depression. We are not overtaxed. There is nothing about mice in the bill, stop listening to bias news sources for your information.

    February 13, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. Democrites

    I love this! For eight years when liberal bloggers ranted about Bush uncontested...no problems whatsoever. Now that their glorious leader is being attacked, it's time to start crying. "I'm going to MSNBC," "this must be monitored by a Republican." You liberals are hysterical.

    February 13, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. Jen, Cali

    You bet they are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 13, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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