Not So Fast, Tom Cole...

From the ebullient chair of the NRCC, Tom Cole:

“Tonight, Jim Ogonowski sent a message to the Washington establishment and the Democratic Party that will reverberate throughout next year’s election. Democrats have officially forfeited the mantle of change.

“Jim’s hard-fought, grassroots campaign, exposed a shift in the political tide, and most impressively, he did it in the bluest of blue states. He proved that a Republican challenger, who centers their campaign on the core issues of lower taxes, less government spending, respect for the rule of law, and most importantly, the issue of bringing change to Washington, can effectively garner votes from independents and swing voters.

“Democrats have a reason to worry. In a race that should have been won in a walk, Democrats were forced to funnel a massive amount of resources and dispatch an all-star cast of liberal icons at the 11th hour in order to ensure victory.

“As their approval ratings have shown, people have already grown angry with the Democrat-led Congress. In a little over nine months, they have gone from being perceived as agents of change and the answer to the problem in Washington to becoming the actual problem. Jim Ogonowski, while unsuccessful in his bid to change Washington, just opened the door for future Republican candidates seeking a path to victory in 2008.”

Well -- this isn't an elite liberal district, as anyone who ever worked for Marty Meehan can tell you. It is insular and provincial and distrusts outsiders; Tsongas lived outside the district before she ran. Though it has stayed in Democratic hands since the 70s, Tsongas still outperformed Gov. Deval Patrick here by two or three points; George H, W. Bush won this congressional district in 1992, as did Mitt Romney in 2002.

Still, Tsongas could have lost -- Ogonowski was a great candidate -- a friendly Iraq war vet who ran on a message of reform and had lots of GOP netroots support. She closed the campaign on the S-CHIP debate, and that helped her quite a bit.

Cole's triumphalism is misplaced. At best -- and this is pretty good -- Ogonowski's run is a blueprint for Republican congressional candidates to run in 2008.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Politics

Just In