Excellent story today in the National Journal, by--gasp--Major Garrett, formerly of Fox fame. It talks about how Chris Van Hollen, chair of the DCCC, knew in February that it would be tough to hold onto to 48 districts that McCain won in 2008.
And that the Dems have had a plan from the git-go, including requiring major fundraising on the behalf of each Congressman, plans to put freshmen in high profile positions with strong programs in local communities, and schooling grizzled veterans not to be asleep at the wheel.
Democrats were told to start raising money immediately and to prepare for a Republican rebound -- even though that seemed virtually impossible at the time. Van Hollen didn't like what he saw -- not the polls but the district-by-district vulnerabilities that came with victories in 54 swing districts in 2006 and 2008. In 2010, House Democrats would be defending seats in 48 districts carried by John McCain in 2008 and 83 won by President Bush in 2004.
In 1994, Van Hollen told the caucus, the entire party fell asleep, but "that won't be the case this time."
The party plan, following a strategy conceived by then-DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, now running for mayor of Chicago, was to demand quarterly fundraising totals from all freshman and sophomore Democrats seeking re-election. These 41 so-called Frontline Democrats also had to sign a contract with the DCCC, a formal memorandum of understanding promising to raise enough campaign cash by March 2010 to pay for their entire TV ad budget for the final six to eight weeks of their contests.
It's a great piece that gave me hope today.
Here's the link: