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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Who’s Really On the GOP Hit List?

Given the continuing back-and-forth discussions of how much political risk Democrats are willing to take to enact health care reform, I thought it might be worth a closer look at that hit list the National Republican Congressional Committee put out in August, of 70 House districts they are allegedly targeting in 2010.
Whatever you think of the list, which is certainly ambitious, it does provide some sense of the Democratic Members of the House that have some reason to be politically sensitive to cross-partisan opinion on key votes.
Of the 70 districts in question, 49 went for John McCain in 2008, and 45 are represented by Members from the two Democratic “wave” elections of 2006 and 2008. These are all extraordinarily obvious targets for a midterm election campaign.
In terms of ideological affinity, 25 of the 70 targeted Democrats are members of the Blue Dog Coalition (nearly half the Caucus’ total membership); 30 are members of the moderate-ish New Democrat Coalition; and just three are members of the Progressive Caucus. Since twelve people on the hit list are members of both the Blue Dogs and the NDC, that means 43 of the 70 targeted Dems are self-identified in the House as moderate-to-conservative.
It’s true that many prominent Blue Dogs can’t much plead political peril in taking positions at odds with the congressional Democratic leadership or the White House. But as a group, they’re a lot more vulnerable than their more liberal peers. That’s why it’s helpful to keep reminding them that a failed Obama administration is not going to help any Democrat politically.

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