Yesterday, I attended a blogger/progressive media event on the Hill with House Democrats. It was the day Kathy Hochul was being sworn in and, despite their minority status, many of the members to whom I spoke seemed upbeat. During recent town hall meetings, many found their constituents, particularly seniors, are enraged about the GOP plan to destroy Medicare. The Minority Leader spoke to ABC News — and thinks Democrats can take back the House in 2012:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told ABC News in an exclusive interview that Democrats “have a very good chance of winning the House” majority in the 2012 elections, pointing to Medicare as the key issue that could propel her party back into control of the lower chamber of Congress.
“We just take it, as I say to the members, one day, one good day, one good week, one good month, one good quarter at a time,” said Pelosi, D-Calif., in an interview for ABC News’ Subway Series with Jonathan Karl.
Pelosi, who is an astute politico, was spot on about the GOPers:
“I wish we could change minds of Republicans on abolishing Medicare,” she said. “The public is going to have to help us do that either before the election or at the time of the election.
“If the Republicans are convinced of that over the next 18 months, that they will change their mind on it, then that is less of an issue in the campaign,” she said. “We’d rather solve the problem than have the issue. But we are determined to fight for the issue.”
She said that while Republicans are focusing their message on reducing the deficit, voters should be mindful of the causes that led to the looming debt crisis.
“To reduce the deficit, you have to promote growth through jobs, you have to make cuts where you can, and make them wisely, and you have to put revenue on the table. That’s how you are going to reduce the deficit,” Pelosi said. “People don’t want to hear about how we got here, but we got here because of the policies of President Bush and we don’t want to repeat them. And so we want to have something different. We want to have investment in jobs. We want to have revenue on the table so that we can reduce the deficit, and we have to make cuts.”
Now, the key thing here is what the White House does. It would have helped if the Obama administration had blamed the economic crisis on Bush and the GOP (but that would have been mean and too political.) You may recall that last week, after Hochul won, just about everybody credited her victory to Medicare and the GOP’s budget that would destroy it. The one glaring exception was the President.
There’s still a long way to go until November of 2012. But, the GOPers have put themselves on a path to destruction. They’re alienating seniors. They’ve already gone after women and gays. They’ve got some really ugly anti-immigration legislation in the hopper that will further enrage Latinos, the nation’s fastest growing voting demographic. The question is whether Democrats can capitalize on this. As we’ve seen, that’s not exactly a strength of Obama and his crack team of political geniuses.