Democrat: believers of 2010 Republican majority in “la la land”

October 20, 2009

Congressman Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says the November 2010 midterm elections will be difficult, but anyone who believes Republicans will wrest majority control of the House of Representatives is living in “la la land.”

The midterm elections will be viewed by many as a referendum on the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama.

“It is going to be a very volatile, political environment,” Van Hollen said at the Reuters Washington Summit.

He pointed out that since the days of President Abraham Lincoln, only twice has a new president’s party picked up seats in the first midterm election — in 1934 (when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president) and 2002 (when George W. Bush was president).

“So other than those two times, the president’s party has lost seats and the average losses are fairly dramatic,” averaging about 35 seats, Van Hollen said.

Right now there are 256 Democrats and 177 Republicans, and two vacancies in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives.

“So we told our members to be prepared, no one’s going to be surprised,” Van Hollen said.

“I would say that anyone who thinks this is going to be a 1994 redux is in la la land. The Democrats are not going to lose control of the House,” he said.

In the midterm elections in 1994, when Democratic President Bill Clinton was in the White House, Republicans gained seats and won control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years.

Van Hollen engaged in a little name-calling, saying the Republican Party these days was “the party of pessimism” and “the party of no” that did not want to be part of the solution to America’s problems.

For more Reuters Washington Summit news click here

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Congressman Chris Van Hollen at Reuters Washington Summit)

50 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

One of the most recent taglines the democrats are trying to use is the ‘Republicans are the party of no” That line spontaneously erupted from every dems mouth on the same day! Well I for one do not really know why saying no is a bad thing. As any parent knows, sometimes no is really all that you need.

Posted by katy | Report as abusive

This Democratic president is very different from all the past presidents. He is a jetsetter in hard times. He also is a socialitst-leaning one that scares the wealthy. He wants to spend more than we can afford.

Posted by Frank Vel | Report as abusive

The problem with “just saying no” is that is exactly what the GOP did with attempts to regulate Wall St and you saw how that worked out. Now they are saying “no” to any attempts to resolve the economic problems that they created. The stimulus may or may not be working but at least it is an attempt. How can anyone believe that the economy would be better off if the GOP were in control and did nothing? As to Obama “spending more than we can afford” it was the GOP that took us from a surplus to a trillion plus deficit. Iraq cost more than the stimulus.

Posted by donemoore | Report as abusive

He is right. The Republicans are the party of No and Nothing. The Republicans love to start wars but never finish them. They are also the party of fundamentalism, war, guns, lies, and anti-environment.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Who is saying NO?? The Dems and Obama are saying NO to the majority of Americans who are not being heard by this congress and administration. We say ‘NO’ to the Health care overhaul; ‘No’ to the rising deficts and increased taxes; ‘NO’ to a congress who is blatantly lying to us. Perhaps at election time, we’ll say NO, too.

Posted by Frank Z | Report as abusive

The Democrats may be right — if they legalize all illegal aliens and register them to vote. Then the gays will vote all their multiple voter cards.

The Mexicans may be pro-liberal, but they are also anti-gay and pro-Christian. No wonder 0bama is giving the gays empty promises!

Posted by Timuchin | Report as abusive

The Republican Party has rightly been called the part of “No”. Normative behavior requires acceptance requires an acknowledgement that sometimes one may be misinformed, incorrect or plain dead wrong. If you think that you are plain dead right all the time and if you fail to acknowledge the existence or the contribution of persons of other faith, opinions or the right to exist you are out of touch with reality! That is what the GOP party is …….because it wants to acknowledge that America consists of persons who are evangelical Christians only. This shows that the GOP is delusional as the founding fathers of the US Constitution gave every US citizen regardless of ethnic origin, color or religious preference to have sovereign right of equality and freedom of speech. If members of the GOP think that they are always right and the majority of people who voted Obama in power are wrong they need to seriously get their heads examined!

Posted by observer | Report as abusive

Frank Z, the majority of Americans are represented by Democratic Congressmen and Senators. Your side lost in the last election. When you did hold control of the legislative and executive branches of government, you gave us a war based on faked intel that will ultimately cost us $3 trillion. The Democrats are only trying to give you universal health care.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

It’s simplistic to stick a label on one side or the other and expect to reflect a broad range of views within each party.

One observer here says Washington isn’t listening to us — yet I read a report minutes ago saying President Obama’s *overall* rating is standing at 57%. And that *is* a majority.

On one point, I do feel this: if the Democrats successfully steam roll the Republicans — on any issue — I expect great bitterness in Republican ranks, while on the other hand, fairly or not, the Republicans are seen by quite a few people as sometimes being obstructionist, for little or no evident reason. The nasty personal attacks from both sides don’t do either party the least good, speaking for myself.

On the larger canvas, not about just now, I do wish Congress would do away with all the miserable rules\’ and procedures\’ trick they can trot out, especially filibustering and ear marks.

Posted by MekhongKurt | Report as abusive

The Republicans took us from a “surplus” to a debt of over a trillion??? What surplus would that be??

I believe you are referring to when Clinton balanced the BUDGET…for a couple weeks. Because no one can lay claim to eliminating the deficit. Nor will they in our lifetime.

And for the record, Republicans are voting NO to everything pertaining to what Obama wants because they ARE doing their job. Their job is to represent it’s people. Obama’s ideas are so far in left field that NO republican wants any of what he has to offer up. So, no, Republicans aren’t simply saying no to make a stand. It’s because we will not elect them again if they YES.

Posted by pinup | Report as abusive

When 2010 gets here I hope the voters have the courage to say NO. No to black panthers commiting crimes against voters, tax evasion from lawmakers, spending our tax dollars and putting our country into debt, pandering to illegals (what part of illegal do they not understand), No transparency, a president who was not vetted properly, calling Tea Party members Nazi’s and mobsters, making us feel un American because we dare say this country is going in the wrong direction. I just hope we do not colapse our financial system before we can clean house. Van Hollen may be one of those to be gone. He is as out of touch as the rest. Voters beware who you elect in the future. If they were good people they would work together and advance this nation thru the constitution and not ignore citizens. Gay’s should be mad because they are citizens who do not get the full benefit of this country. I was republican. Now independant. Everyone should be able to marry whomever they want. Abortions should never be used as birth control. All illegals should be shown the door. They can go home under their own steam, they got here this way. No more. No more illegal babies automatically given US Citizenship. How dumb. That just helps cause this stupid situation. Wake up Washington. We see thru all of you. Vote American.

Posted by lazy susan | Report as abusive

Obama and the Democrats are arrogant and the axe WILL fall on these socialists’. The fact is that we DON’T have the money for all the democrat tax and spend plans. By the way, the republicans did NOT start the Vietnam war or the Korean war. That was a bunch of sorry ass dems. Iraq and Afghanistan you say? Try 9/11 for that one.

In 2010 I intend to vote against every current incumbent. Same in 2012 and 2016. Clean the rats nest completely out. What DON’T you understand about NO? NONONONONO!

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

This administration is not the real Democrat Party. This is the Socialist/Communist Party that after years of going no where, slowly took over the Democrat Party. Compare John Kennedy’s work to Obama’s administration and the difference is scary. Democrats need to take back the party and cast out the Socialists.

Posted by dan f | Report as abusive

Tom, “In 2010 I intend to vote against every current incumbent. Same in 2012 and 2016. Clean the rats nest completely out. What DON’T you understand about NO? NONONONONO!”

YES!

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

The mood in politics(U.S.A. STYLE)seems to be a roller coaster ride, so my outlook is somewhat confused. How in the world can “the American voter” even consider voting for a party that almost sent us into horrific depression. My memory(’cause I am old) is bad,but,not that bad. I have tried to keep abreast of the facts on most subjects that congress and the President has had to tackle. I come away with pride and confidence in both. I guess that I must be missing something. What though?

Posted by Jim ONeil | Report as abusive

Beginning in 1994, Democrats have not voted as consistently as Republicans. Individual Democrats are easily discouraged when one thing or another does not go exactly the way he or she wants. On the other side, Republicans have a sharp focus on power, and vote like an army. The strange thing is that Republicans do whatever their top dog tells them to do, even if it is contrary to their stated values (biggest government size ever; biggest deficits ever even though the times did not require any deficit spending; and so on). On the other hand, whenever Democrats happen to do something that is in line with self-identified Republican values, the Republicans renounce it as evil, presumably since the evil guys are doing it.
Fascinating.
Democrats: a loose gaggle with a million different perspectives, each one easily discouraged if any one thing is not perceived to be perfect.
Republicans: an army sharply focused on power, with no vision of what they would do with power (except punish people who are “immoral” or “not one of us”).

Posted by Bill Owens | Report as abusive

hey kpauly: “Iraq and Afghanistan you say? Try 9/11 for that one.” huh? maybe you watch too much faux news, but umm if you were to read facts, we had a 911 commission analyze the attacks and publish a report, which clearly stated that there were no links between 911 attackers and iraq, or afghanistan for that matter. all the attackers were saudi, uae, and lebanese. typical mouthfoaming repubs, just say no and dont care about the facts, we’ll make em up or twist em to our liking.

Posted by logical thinker | Report as abusive

“Republicans gained seats and won control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years.”

This seems to be the most important part.
Republicans need to wait a generation for everyone to forget… yet again.

Posted by Cru | Report as abusive

Think about it. The second baby boom increasingly becoming adults witnessed one party overreact and bankrupt us waging war against an intangible enemy like terrorism. Then, take us to the brink of depression and actually give golden parachutes to the fat cats at the top.
This is a huge block coming up, many sided with the current president in the last election and the Republican brand has been tarnished in their minds. More than likely permanently, as it was a coming of age experience. Folks prattling on about socialism (still!) truly are in la la land if they think it’s still just their generation voting.

Posted by Cru | Report as abusive

Anybody who’s saying that Obama’s a socialist is an idiot. Do you people not even understand the meaning of the word socialist? Just because he wants to lay down the law on the out-of-control financial system (you can thank Reganomics for that) and help people out with health-care doesn’t make him a socialist, if anything, it makes him left of center. I’m a proud socialist, and I’m quite tired of hearing uninformed Obama-haters throw around the term when it doesn’t apply.

Posted by A | Report as abusive

The latest CBS News poll found 22% identify themselves as Republicans. The Post/ABC finds 20%.
The latest AP poll found 21%. Ipsos/McClatchy puts the number at 19%. Gallup has the highest total for the GOP, at 27%, but the Pew Forum study has it at 23%, while NBC/WSJ finds 18%.

Average those together, and we find about 21% of the public are self-identified Republicans.

The only people left who identify themselves as Republicans are the Intellectually Lazy Susans on the far right. The Republican brand is suffering badly, and it has yet to recover from the Bush/Cheney era.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Bushie was very instrumental in this lifelong Republican changing party affiliation to Independent as did most of my conservative friends here in California. If a third party does not emerge then we as Independents have the option to vote for either party’s platform. Politics has changed for sure but what the liberals should be concentrating on is how many true conservatives have moved from the Republican Party to either Independent or Libertarian. The figure is staggering.

Posted by Tina Ferrer | Report as abusive

You can hardly find a Communist in China or Russia anymore but somehow these right wing kooks seem to think that half the US gov carries around a little red book.

The GOP teabagger crowd is delusional as in completely ipso facto nuts.

Posted by Cal | Report as abusive

Oh, stimulus is working…..if you have invested in IRA Funds, you are making money and lots of it. Same is true in the DOW and NASDAQ. So, if this boost in our capitalist economy is spurring these market gains, I hardly see how Stimulus is not working. More so I fail to see the logic that it is a socialist driven agenda. The markets are recovering and for the US, that is good. We’ve always thrived on market speculation. Now if your not invested….no one ever said you were automatically entitled to good fortune; you have to buy in.

Posted by Anthony | Report as abusive

The party of NO? Yes I see it blazing over the news and that the dems feel that Republicans do not want change. I am a strong Republican supporter, just an average person in an average job that has worked for every penny earned. I accept change, it just needs to be change that moves us in the right direction. The direction that Obama’s administration is moving us into is Marxist and Socialist. We are not allowed to be proud of our successes if we do well. It is now government’s job to take and take–and punish success versus promote it, with speak of higher taxes and less tax breaks. The more $ I make the more the government takes–if I work hard for a bonus, the government automatically takes 40% of it. If I apply for a government program that I pay into–sorry, you make too much money and don’t qualify. We need to get a more balanced House and Senate so that there can be some real debate to help move our country to change in a way that will allow growth and prosperity, not “sharing the wealth.”

Posted by Debbie | Report as abusive

Chris Van Hollen – NO more spending, NO more socialism, NO more incumbants. The liberals have had thier 15 minutes and thier time is almost up.

Posted by terry smoz | Report as abusive

My Mother has alway told me never say never…whether your a Democrat or Republican, Congressman Chris Van Hollen and other Congressman need to pull there heads out of their la la land spending ways. With the earnings power of Americans going down and baby boomers moving into retirement, the tax revenues for all levels of government is deminishing. But yet, our federal, state and local governments continue to increase spending on meaningless programs that are not essential to our economy. Also,DONEMOORE…please… Obama noted on televison that he had continued the recovery policy that Bush initiated. As well as, there wouldn’t have been a surplus if it wasn’t for Reagan’s economic policies that created more corporate tax revenue from growth. Go to True National Debt at http://www.truthin2008.org for a realistic look.

It can be argued that Bush never met a spending bill he didn’t like but if you don’t like the way Bush handled things how can you defend Obama’s economic policies? It seems to me that this administration and congress is trying to collapse the dollar and the American economy.

We are in a perfect storm and doing nothing to defend ourselves. We are in debt up to our eyebrows and still spending, borrowing, and printing money. China owns us, no jobs are being created, companies are laying off workers by the thousands. I am with anyone, who says “throw them all out” I am not the party of no, I am in the party of “hell no” No more spending, no more printing money, and no more incumbents.

Posted by rdlamb | Report as abusive

Pardon me Anthony, but don’t tell me that stimulus is working, tell that to all my relatives and friends that have been laid off or are working less hours. The stock market hasn’t made any money it has merely regained some of it loses. And when it takes a box full of dollars to by a bag of groceries you will see that governments cannot spend and print their way to prosperity. It has never worked before and it will not work now.

Posted by rdlamb | Report as abusive

It’s not that Republicans are saying “no.” They are saying “how?” How can we pay for health care to cover all Americans, including the illegal ones? How can we help businesses become profitable and start hiring again if we raise taxes on them? How, Mr. Obama, can you say that health care is your top domestic priority when Americans are losing jobs? Republicans are focusing on how to get job growth in the private sector. By focusing on the private sector growth, we will naturally have more tax revenue (the more jobs, the more income taxes). Republicans are saying “no” to a Democratic Congress whose sole focus is on their own legacies. They are not focusing on the private marketplace and that is why Republicans are saying no. I studied Economics, and when the government spends to much “they crowd out private investment.” This country would be on the right track with low business taxes. This would leave extra funds for businesses to grow and to hire new employees. Instead, they give it to the most inefficient organization: the US government.

Posted by Jonathan | Report as abusive

anyone who still considers themselves liberal are idiots as far as im concerned. and part of the problem. independents are fine, democrats are still ok. im a conservative and was always a Republican because it was the only party that fit my beliefs in the least.

there will be a great number of seats picked up by Republicans in 2010 if a 3rd party does not pick up steam. no one is going to trust voting for a democrat, not after what has happened to our country.

Posted by Kurt | Report as abusive

you say you’re a proud socialist yet you put your name down as just ‘A’..you do not seem proud at all. and you shouldn’t be. socialism is a failed ideology and yes our President is a socialist/Marxist. he wants to spread around everyone elses money to people who did not earn or work for it. thats socialism my friend

Posted by Kurt | Report as abusive

No longer a Republican, tired of the culture of ignorance and lies, I felt ashamed. Republicans are making a problem of themselves and not helping the nation. Surprised that they don’t see their own contradictions, it makes them sound like idiots. Obama must be a very strange socialist for bailing out those rich bankers

Posted by John Stein | Report as abusive

Reading this and some of the comments was a complete waste of my life.

Posted by Hello | Report as abusive

Whether we identify ourselves as Republicans or not, the backbone of this country are working Americans. If we are working, then we are generally happy with the current administration, or at least, can easily ignore it. When our individual disposable income falls relative to overall prices, you can bet we are not happy. Socialism may be the government demanding that we all dig ditches for a living, and that is fine if it pays good. But, it doesn’t pay good, and it doesn’t make Mama happy when it comes time to pay bills. Somebody had better start making plans to make a quick getaway, because Mama’s digging through the ammo drawer.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

I don’t understand why Congressman Chris Van Hollen is trying to demonize republicans. Why does it matter if the republicans are the party of “no.” The dems control the house, the senate and the executive branch. The republicans can’t do a thing about it. Seems like he’s just looking for a scapegoat for his own party’s inadequacies.

Posted by Lance | Report as abusive

Wow, 36 comments and still nobody gets it.

Republican voters watch Republican bureaucrats skyrocket welfare, increase the power of the federal gov’t and open our borders completely ocean to ocean.

So what’s their response? Vote Republican again

Democratic voters watch Democratic bureaucrats warmonger in the middle east, grow deficits, spit in the face of gays.

So what’s their response? Vote Democrat again

It’s just sad watching you people, you just simply don’t get it. You’ll keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect something different. Be an independent, be a liberatarian, be a constitutionalist, I don’t care anything besides these 2 garbage mainstream parties. For the the good of your country!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

this guy is dead wrong…repubs will win back the majority. the presidential approval ratings tell you all you need to know about Obama. People are jumping ship quickly realizing their mistake at voting Obama into office.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Aside from the fact that it would be difficult to be simaltaneously both a Marxist communist and a socialist….

Every time I hear someone use “Socialist!” as a political brickbat (even if they don’t understand the meaning of the word) I am reminded of Bernie Sanders of Vermont who said (I paraphrase from memory hear but you’ll get the point)

“If being for clean air and clean water and exceptional public education and honest government and businesses and decent places for people to live and safe food for them to eat and decent healthcare and working to make the world a better place for everyone and not just the few makes me a socialist, then I am a socialist”.

Posted by marc | Report as abusive

The way its going now I think they are in for a big surrprize. The whitehouse will not listen to the voters. We have been trying to tell them what we feel and want them to do but it all falls on deaf ears. Its like we don’t matter and since they are the government they know whats best for us. So our opinon dosent mean squat. Its time to clean house. This time we won’t have bush to screw it all up within his own party. But it will be a Republican majority.

Posted by Rainman2 | Report as abusive

Those other years didn’t have teabaggers and America has more people paying attension to Obama and the government way of doing buisness and are tired of all the bull.

Posted by rainman2 | Report as abusive

Micheal Ham’s comment was the most pertinent in this entire mess of comments.

It’s worth quoting!

“Republican voters watch Republican bureaucrats skyrocket welfare, increase the power of the federal gov’t and open our borders completely ocean to ocean.

So what’s their response? Vote Republican again

Democratic voters watch Democratic bureaucrats warmonger in the middle east, grow deficits, spit in the face of gays.

So what’s their response? Vote Democrat again

It’s just sad watching you people, you just simply don’t get it. You’ll keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect something different. Be an independent, be a liberatarian, be a constitutionalist, I don’t care anything besides these 2 garbage mainstream parties. For the the good of your country!!!!!!!!!!”

Posted by C. Moon | Report as abusive

And why did I think it was so good? Because it gets at the heart of the problem.

G.W. Bush was the biggest traitor to fundamental Republican values there ever was.

Perhaps we cannot levy the same kind of criticism against Obama, but there are plenty of Democrats out there who are traitors to fundamental Democratic values.

You people need to start thinking for yourself, and stop letting your chosen party do the thinking for you.

Posted by C. Moon | Report as abusive

Rainman2, at least TRY to correct the errors in your comment please, it’s embarrassing for people to see the elementary school mistakes appear on a political blog. The Republicans won’t have a majority, the majority of the voters AREN’T going against the White House. Please get your facts checked next time you post, it doesn’t help your case when all the arguments you used are not based on facts.

Posted by ConfederateDegenerate | Report as abusive

confederateDegenerate,the democrats blame Bush for everything,perhaps rainman2,s spell check is at fault?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

With Obama’s betrayal of his promises, from Gitmo, to Iraq, from health care to rule of law, I’m voting for no Democrats at all. I’m also not voting for any Republicans either, so it’s independents when I can and if I can’t, then no incumbents at all. If that means I vote Republican then I will. Democrats betrayed us in 2000, in 2002, again in 2004 again in 2006 and once more in 2008. We might as well just give up on both parties. NO MORE INCUMBENTS! Health care is a perfect example. The people want Medicare for all, but Congress doesn’t care, they want the money and power that comes from being bribed by corporations. They have proven Nader was right. It’s all one corrupt party, just with two faces.

Posted by Robert1234 | Report as abusive

I have to agree.
Most young people really don’t think of socialism as “evil”. Especially when you know people who live in socialist countries.
When you hear about how awesome some of those Scandinavian countries are to live in. (Despite abysmal climates.)
When the children of technology (those born after 1980) are in charge, it’s going to be so different and complex.

mitchell, i came from a socialist country and there was a saying there ,that” if America caught a cold, Europe got the flue”.Most of the socialist countries prosperity depended on America being capitalist to have funds to buy their services.In spite of what the liberal America hates say, if they built a bridge to Europe you could not get on for the people coming this way.When we get past this Obama entitlement socialist nonsense, we will again get back to being the world engine room and helping with world prosperity like what we have always done.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Truly amazing listening to you guys say these things and actually believe yourselves.

Why weren’t we socialist when a Republican president was bailing out corporate America?

Stop pretending as if it has anything to do with principle people, those of us free thinkers (how few of us there are left in this country) can see right through it. It’s completely 100% entirely dependent on if the party you don’t like is doing it.

As I said before no Republican wants to take any responsibility for what their party did between 2000 and 2006 when they had complete control of everything. You people used to tell me how big of a liberal Bill Clinton was, George Bush made him look like the most conservative person to ever walk the earth after his 8 years were up. Clinton’s government spending, size of the federal gov’t, size of the welfare budget never even approached the heights of what Bush and his fellow Republicans got us too.

Stop caring what the mainstream media (Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc) tells you these parties stand for and start paying attention to reality. Speeches and rhetoric don’t matter, look at voting records, budgets, trends.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive