Boehner Paints Positive Picture for GOP

Posted April 30, 2008 at 12:10pm

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) laid out the case to his colleagues Wednesday morning for how the GOP can make gains in the House in the November elections, despite a playing field and political atmosphere that is heavily tilted toward Democrats.

Boehner received a standing ovation after completing his PowerPoint presentation on “Why We Can Win” at the GOP’s weekly Conference meeting.

Boehner’s presentation acknowledged that picking up enough seats to retake the House majority is an uphill battle, but he laid out some of the structural advantages Republicans enjoy and how GOP candidates down ballot will benefit from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Boehner touted McCain’s strong appeal to Independents and moderate Democrats, and argued that the Senator can swing two Democratic-held seats to the GOP column in Arizona alone.

Boehner also stressed that despite having to defend 29 GOP-held seats because of retirements or resignations, Republicans are largely fighting on their own turf. He pointed to the fact that 21 Democratic freshmen in the House hold districts carried by President Bush in 2004 and that Republican incumbents are battle-tested and know how to win.

“We’re fighting this battle on ground that we’ve had,” Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters after the Conference meeting, adding that the presidential dynamic this year is better than any recent presidential election in terms of “its potential to impact what’s happening on the rest of the ticket.”

Boehner also argued that the protracted fight for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) will hurt Democrats in the long run and that Obama, currently viewed as the frontrunner, will be an asset to Republicans.

“By November, it will be clear that Obama’s appeal is limited to arugula-eating college professors, hard-core liberal Democrats, and the residents of Nancy Pelosi’s Congressional District,” according to Boehner’s presentation.

Boehner also argued that President Bush will be a big asset for Republican candidates, citing the fact that the president has already raised more than $96 million for Republicans and more than $16 million for the House GOP.

While Republicans face a significant financial disadvantage, Boehner noted that the GOP was outspent in 1994, 2000 and 2004, all years when Republicans picked up seats in Congress.

Still, he implored his colleagues to do their part in the effort to regain the majority by paying their dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee, meeting their fundraising goals for the annual President’s Dinner and participating in other state and national fundraising programs.

Also on Wednesday, NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) announced that Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) will be the chairman of the President’s Dinner.