The national Democrats, and their principal ally in the popular press, have signaled their plan for holding back the electoral tide on November 2: They will attempt to demonize John Boehner.
I believe they will find, as King Canute proved nearly 1,000 years ago, that no ruler (or Speaker of the House) is so strong that she can hold back a tide.
The New York Times has an article in its Sunday editions which ties U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (pronounced BAY-nur) to high profile lobbyists in Washington. To prove his point, reporter Eric Lipton leads with his best punch:
"House Democrats were preparing late last year for the first floor vote on the financial regulatory overhaul when Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders summoned more than 100 industry lobbyists and conservative political activists to Capitol Hill for a private strategy session."
Note: I was not included in that nor in any other strategy session.
The piece goes on to describe fund raising events at which Boehner appeared in places where people with a lot of money would tend to show up - golf resorts and the like.
The article is clearly designed to drag Boehner down to the level of senior Democrats in the House like Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), both of whom are facing the equivalent of a trial before the House Ethics Committee this fall.
Interestingly, Rangel was the chairman of what is always referred to as the "powerful" House Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for all tax laws. Waters is described by the LA Times as: "the senior black member on the House committee that oversees banking."
The NY Times story does not mention that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) has been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars from financial and insurance industry sources over the course of his career in spite of the fact he is currently the Chairman of the House Banking Committee.
The Senate Banking chair, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) was so tarnished by the coins placed into his hands by financial interests he was forced to announce he was retiring from the Senate rather than risk the embarrassment of losing a re-election campaign.
Also lost in the editing process is any mention of the fact that in the Pelosi House, Republicans weren't included in discussions on any major piece of legislation, so whatever influence K-Street Lobbyists may have had on Boehner had no effect on what the geniuses in the Democratic staff offices were churning out.
The Dems were so successful demonizing Newt that he became like the Golden Arches. You drive past a sign with a big golden "M" on a red background, you immediately know everything you need to know about that restaurant. Need proof? I don't even have to name it for you to know exactly which one I'm talking about.
All Democrats had to say was "Newt" and well over 50 percent of Americans knew exactly what that represented.
John Boehner, for better or for worse, is no Newt Gingrich. Other than people who watch Cable News and read MULLINGS, my guess is Boehner's national name ID is, at best, in the low double-digits.
That means Boehner is not a high-profile enough target to move voters either away from GOP candidates if they were going to vote, or to the polls in the first place.
In spite of his best efforts and thudding innuendo, Lipton alleges no contravention of current House ethics rules, much less any illegality.
Finally, as an example of why the Democrats and its allies are so despairing of the election outcome, On the NY Times' web page right next to the article about Boehner was an election analysis with the headline: "GOP Has 2-in-3 Chance of Taking House, Model Shows."
On the morning of November 3, the day after the mid-term elections, Nancy Pelosi and her allies are going find themselves squishing around their fancy offices in wet socks.