Biden: Republican House Takeback ‘End of the Road’
Vice President Joe Biden told a partisan crowd that, if the Republicans win the House back in 2010, it would be “the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do.” Karen Travers for ABC:
Biden said Republicans are pinning their political strategy on flipping these seats. “If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do,” the vice president said at a fundraiser for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) today in Greenville, Delaware.
Republicans need to pick up 40 seats next November to take back control of the House. There are 49 seats currently held by Democrats in districts that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) won in last year’s presidential election.
Biden said these House seats are Republicans “one shot” at breaking the Obama administration’s agenda. But if Democrats can hold on to those seats, “the dam is going to break,” he said, and a new era of bipartisanship will begin. “All the hidden Republicans that don’t have the courage to vote the way they want to vote because of pressure from the party … it will break the dam and you will see bipartisanship,” Biden said.
Republicans welcomed the vice president’s assessment of the 2010 landscape. “What didn’t seem possible just a few months ago, appears to be the topic of conversation even within the upper echelons of the Obama White House,” said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “It is interesting to hear Vice President Biden admit that the administration’s effort to double down on a partisan agenda of government takeovers could possibly mean the ‘end of the road’ for their political viability.”
While Biden’s statement is being portrayed as controversial, it’s axiomatic. Unlikely as it is to happen, a Republican landslide wouldn’t so much be “the end of the road” as the Dead End sign one sees upon arrival. While I expect the GOP to win back a substantial number of those seats — they’re low hanging fruit, ideologically disposed to vote Republican, not going to have Obama’s coattails helping the Democratic GOTV effort, and it’s traditional for the president’s party to lose seats in the midterms, anyway — it’s almost inconceivable that they’ll take them all back, much less win 40 seats and reverse their losses in the last two cycles. But, if they did, it would be an indication of massive existing dissatisfaction with the direction Obama is leading the country.
As to the business about Republicans afraid to vote their mind, I’m rather dubious. While the party leadership holds a lot of power in terms of committee assignments and the ability to get one’s bill up for consideration and offer amendments, most Members are more afraid of their constituents. If they think voting for Obama’s programs is going to get them defeated, they’ll oppose regardless of their conscience. But it’s hard to imagine a Republican Member who, upon the GOP picking up only 25 seats in the midterms, will suddenly decide he likes liberal policies after all.