Summit Notebook

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Rumors of our demise exaggerated, Van Hollen says

September 22, 2010

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/VAN HOLLENRepresentative Chris Van Hollen likes to paraphrase Mark Twain when talking about the Democratic chances in the November mid-term election.

“News of the Democratic demise is greatly exaggerated,” the man in charge of the House Democrats’ election effort told the Reuters Washington Summit. “I think the pundits have been wrong before and they’ll be wrong again. Democrats will retain a majority in the Congress. I’m very confident of that.”

Of course it’s Van Hollen’s job to be confident or at least project an image of confidence six weeks ahead of the election where Republicans and the conservative Tea Party movement are trying to convince Americans to vote Democrats out of office and take back Republican control of the Congress.

Van Hollen predicted a “tough, rough election” but believed his party would prevail in part because moderate Americans would be scared by possible Tea Party victories.

He said the “political energy deficit” was beginning to close, presumably meaning that Democrats were starting to get a bit more excited about the election, though polls don’t seem to be showing that.

“You have a very energized group, obviously, on the right,” he said about the Tea Party. “That is also having an impact on moderate and centrist voters who are waking up and saying ‘I agree the economy’s not where we want it to be but it’s a little scary going to Bush economic policy on steroids.’”

“This election should be a wakeup call to the ordinary citizen,” he said.

Republicans are saying the same thing, but predicting the opposite type of outcome. Guess we have to wait another six weeks to see which side is right.

(Photo credit: Reuters/Molly Reilly)

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