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Steve Israel, head of DCCC
DCCC chief Steve Israel plans a campaign to squeeze targeted
Republican lawmakers on guns and the minimum wage.
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post interviewed Steve Israel, the chief of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Thursday and was told that the party's candidates for the House will run aggressively on reducing gun violence and on the minimum wage:
“Both the minimum wage and reducing gun violence are priority issues in the districts we need to win,” Israel said. “Both are a reminder to suburban independent voters that House Republicans are extreme, and out of touch. On both, House Republicans have rejected solutions and have embraced obstructionism, turning their backs on millions of hard working American families.” Israel said Dems would use both issues in TV advertising against GOP candidates. [...]

“Israel said Dems planned to aggressively contrast GOP opposition to raising the minimum wage with the party’s refusal to raise new revenues via closing loopholes enjoyed by the rich and corporations.

The dwindling number of swing districts, thanks in great part to the ferocious Republican gerrymandering after the 2010 Census, means Democrats need to win a broader swath of the popular vote nationwide if the party is to win the 17 seats needed to gain a majority in the House in 2014.
Asked to respond to the GOP argument that guns, for example, won’t resonate with voters preoccupied with the economy, Israel replied: “If you believe you can win elections in suburban districts by putting the NRA ahead of the safety of families, then you’re making a big mistake.”
Gun-control measures have been getting a lot of push from Democrats since the 12/14 Newtown, Connecticut, slaughter. The new advocacy group Organizing for America launched its first major project Friday: targeting 13 Republicans with online ads and an array of events over the issue universal background checks for gun purchases. Continue reading below the fold for more analysis on this subject.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden, who has been the president's point man on guns since the elementary school massacre, spoke in Danbury, Connecticut, Thursday, just a dozen miles from Newtown:

Vowing that there is “a moral price to be paid for inaction,” Biden sought to publicly shame lawmakers who are hesitant about voting for President Obama’s gun-control agenda.

“I can’t imagine how we will be judged as a society if we do nothing,” he said. “If you’re concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children. And guess what? I believe the price to be paid politically should go to those who refuse to act. ... The American people are with us.”

So far, nearly every poll shows the vice president is right. The question is whether lawmakers will follow the public's lead. Despite the polls, the only piece of new legislation that would seem to have a mostly unobstructed chance of passing the Senate is a universal background check on all gun purchases. In the House, even that will face very rough sailing.

If background-check legislation and other proposals for gun restriction fail, and Republican representatives also give a thumbs-down to an increase in the minimum wage President Obama has called for, will the independent voters that the DCCC seeks to woo in those targeted exurban and suburban districts punish the lawmakers who are at fault? The answer to that question has to be on the minds of the smarter Republicans in those districts. But breaking free of the harness the NRA and GOP leaders have stuck them in is something they have very little stomach for. Even when not doing so risks their seats.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Daily Kos.

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