Ach, forgive me: in DCCC chair Steve Israel's mind former Democratic Congressmen who are now the aforementioned dirty, dirty lobbyists are really just poor souls who have to eat and pay the bills. They're also the only hint of a glimpse of a hope that the man has at putting up something like a competitive roster of candidates in 2012, too.
See, here's the underlying structural problem for the Democrats: they didn't just lose a lot of their major-league players in 2010 - i.e., Congressmen. That happens, and that can be sometimes a blessing in disguise, because it will at least give openings for promising newcomers and/or minor league players. Give an example from our side: when NY-26 went vacant the state GOP tapped Assemblywoman Jane Corwin for the replacement. By all accounts, she's at least two steps up from Chris Lee - three if you include the Craiglist thing - so we end up with a net improvement in our Congressional delegation. So there's opportunities to be found, in other words.
That is, if you have a good bench to draw from. Aside from self-funding natural candidates, one of the best source for good candidates would be state legislators... and in 2010 the Democrats took a bath in the state races. Out of the 88 chambers up for re-election, Democrats lost over 660 seats, out of 6,125. To give you a grip on those numbers:
- The Democrats gained seats in 6 of 88 chambers.
- The Democrats stood pat in 7 of 88 chambers.
- The Democrats lost seats in 75 of 88 chambers.
- The Republicans (according to this site) flipped 20 chambers.
In other words, a lot of state Democrats - ones that might have been competitive in Republican-held Congressional district races - got booted in the last election. Which is why Chairman Israel is pretty much explicitly dismissing his party's rhetoric on lobbyists: he's got no real choice. At least the dirty, dirty lobbyists remember how to win a federal election; maybe they can do it again?
As to whether it'll work, well, I'll let the NRCC answer this one:
"We would not want to stop Steve Israel from recruiting his former colleagues who imposed a job-destroying agenda that drove our country deep into debt. Voters will undoubtedly be able to relate to the hardship these defeated Democrats now face as they learn to adjust to the backbreaking life of being a K Street lobbyist fighting for liberal special interests," said NRCC spokesperson Paul Lindsay.
Moe Lane (crosspost)