Search The Archives
I Got You Babe
Starting this week, Americans United for Change will begin airing ads against six Republican House Members for their support of Dubya's prosecution of the war in Iraq. Among the six is, most interestingly, Mary Bono. The other five targets are: Dean Heller (Nev.), Timothy Johnson (Ill.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.), Jim Walsh (N.Y.) and Heather Wilson (N.M.).
Americans United for Change was initially created to oppose Bush's plan to privatize social security and is now dedicated to fighting for a panoply of progressive causes. They are well funded, well connected and have strong union backing. The group was a forceful presence in the 2006 campaign, targeting a number of Republicans who ultimately lost their races.
While five of the six targets of this ad campaign are relatively obvious, the inclusion of Bono implies that Americans United for Change sees her as vulnerable in 2008, a potential vote FOR the conference report on the Iraq Supplemental Appropriations bill or a persuadable override vote should Bush carry through with his veto threat. Since it is highly unlikely, even if these six are persuaded, that Bush's stance on the Supplemental would change or that there could be a veto override, my hunch is that someone somewhere has numbers that show Bono is vulnerable. I additionally suspect that Mary Bono has seen
As I noted in my January 10th and 11th articles for CMR, Bono voted FOR several of the Democrats 100 hour agenda items. Those votes and her public relations effort to publicize that she bucked her party intrigued me. I thought, at the time, that perhaps she was setting up a run against Boxer. But, today's development makes me believe that self-preservation was the actual motive.
Typically, Americans United for Change's ad targets are those Senators and Members who are deemed most vulnerable in their re-election bids. In recent weeks, Americans United has run ads targeting New Hampshire's John Sununu and Maine's Susan Collins.
Since November's election there are only four Republican Senators on the eastern seaboard north of Virginia and the two not targeted by a recent Americans United for Change ad, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter, are not up for re-election in 2008.
Among the six House Members targeted in this week's ads, Heather Wilson clung to her seat by a margin of 861 votes in November and is hip-deep in the US Attorney firing scandal. Kuhl and Walsh also came close to standing in the unemployment line, with Kuhl escaping by 6033 votes and Walsh by a mere 3417 vote margin. Heller is a freshman, who barely won his primary and then was held to 50% in the general in what had been considered a "safe Republican seat."
And, the Republican he replaced is the current Governor who is embroiled in scandal. Only Johnson received a comfortable, if less than accustomed margin in November. However, Johnson, along with Walsh were among the 17 Republicans who voted to oppose Bush’s troop surge. Thus, Johnson could find himself in trouble come 2008 for trying to have it both ways on Iraq.
The strategy of Americans United and the coalition of anti-war groups appears to be to put potentially vulnerable Republicans between Iraq and a hard place. If said Members soften their stance on Iraq to appease the vast majority of Americans and their constituents who oppose the war, they risk losing their Republican base and being targeted in a primary by the far-right. If, however, they stick with Bush, they are likely to face an increasingly harsh general electorate, in blue or purple states, that may well tilt very Democratic in November of 2008 -- perhaps even Democratic enough to tilt normally non-competitive districts.
So, it seems that Mary Bono should be worried and we should be looking to a strong Democratic candidate to challenge her in 2008.
U.S. Senate + U.S. Congress
There are no comments attached to this item.
The Majority Vote