Biden: Republican House Takeback ‘End of the Road’

GYI0000683396.jpgVice 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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    My feeling is that the GOP doesn’t really have a chance of winning back either house of congress. They do have a chance of gaining some seats and reducing the majority advantage the democrats now hold.

    I almost think this is the way for the administration and DNC to try to get people out to vote. Tell them that if the democrats lose all will go to hell in a handbasket seems more designed to get voters to come out in 2009 out of a fear of the GOP winning than any real belief that the GOP will actually retake the house and/or senate.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Barring some as yet unrevealed scandal or an economic collapse the Republican Party won’t get a majority in the House. The Obama Administration’s problem isn’t that it can’t pursue its agenda without a majority in the House. It’s that the polarization of the parties, greater now that at any time since the American Civil War, requires a supermajority.

  3. sam says:

    Uh, how does

    [I]t’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.

    square with

    [T]he Republicans have gradually become more embracing of popular social programs over the years ( if not yet the means to pay for them).

  4. devildog666 says:

    — 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.

    True, other than a “throw all the bums out” sentiment, I don’t see anyone or thing out there that addresses the current discontent among a majority of the voters. Neither party has the answers. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

  5. markm says:

    Barring some as yet unrevealed scandal or an economic collapse the Republican Party won’t get a majority in the House.

    GOOD!!!!!!. I’m tired of majorities. GIVE ME GRIDLOCK OR GIVE ME DEATH.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Uh, how does

    [I]t’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.

    square with

    [T]he Republicans have gradually become more embracing of popular social programs over the years ( if not yet the means to pay for them).

    It’s a matter of degrees. The GOP has moved with the country, both out of ideological evolution and political necessity. But failing to take back the Congress while gaining seats is unlikely to rapidly advance that trend.

  7. […] (h/t) […]

  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Then if you do not believe what is going to happen will happen. Hide your self and observe. I guess you have not noticed the general joy the country is at having our childrens future mortgaged. Seniors don’t want their health care messed with. This is a center-right nation with a far left government. Obama, Pelosi and Reid have an agenda which does not fit with what most, and by most I mean a vast majority, want for this country. Boxer will fail in CA, Reid in NV, and Democrats are in trouble all over the country. Political science is inexact however the mood of the country can be measured. Obama campaigned as a centerist. He is governing from the radical left. His Dr. Chu states the American people are like teenagers when it comes to energy. Dr. Chu is a fool for thinking he knows what is best for America. We decide what is best for us, not unelected advisors to a President who is losing popularity every day. Maybe if Obama would do the job of a President and not that of a TV personality things would get done. Lies only work so long.

  9. Gustopher says:

    I think the only thing controversial here is Biden’s belief that the Republicans will suddenly be interested in bipartisanship.

    It’s cute that he thinks that, and this is why he is our national mascot.

  10. floyd says:

    “the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do.”
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    It’s nice to see a little optimism once in a while!

  11. 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.

    So, um, bipartisanship can’t happen if the Democrats are in the minority? Who knew?