Dr. Larry Bucshon is one of them. A heart surgeon in Evansville, Ind., Bucshon watched the first months of Barack Obama's presidency with growing alarm. "It became clear to me that what he said in the campaign -- big government, more spending, more federal government control -- was what he was really going to do," says Bucshon. By last summer, as the president and congressional Democrats turned to health care, Bucshon was thinking about running for the House from Indiana's 8th District. By October, he was in the race.
Bucshon is just one of what House GOP leaders believe is the best class of new candidates in many years. "So far, our successful recruitment efforts have helped produce over 95 top GOP recruits," says Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is leading the recruitment drive for the National Republican Congressional Committee. And those are just the hot prospects in potentially winnable districts; there will also be Republican challengers for even the safest Democratic seats.
Talk to the new candidates, and they're worried about the entire scope of Obama policy. But an indicator of the specific effect of Obamacare is the unusually large number of new recruits -- 31 -- who come from the medical profession. Twenty-four are doctors. The GOP already has a significant advantage in the number of physicians-turned-lawmakers -- at the Obama health care summit, the Republicans brought three doctors to the table, while the Democrats brought none -- and that advantage will probably be larger in 2011.
The ramifications of the Democrats push for Obamacare, using rarely used tactics to circumvent the will of the people and pushing despite the plurality and sometimes majority opposition to Obamacare itself, reach much farther than just endangering our economy but right into the 2010, 2011 and 2012 elections themselves where even handicappers are projecting more than the usual gains for the GOP.
What are their chances? By historical standards, the party out of power would probably pick up seats this November, but all signs point to something much bigger than that. Last month the respected political analyst Charlie Cook raised a lot of eyebrows when he told National Journal, "It's very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don't lose the House."
In the year that Barack Obama has been President and the Democrats have controlled the House and the Senate, they have lost all the political advantage they held after the 2008 elections.
Not just lost, but thrown it away, handed it right to the GOP on a silver platter
While many will point to a variety of mistakes, it is Obamacare that has done the most damage to Democrats vulnerable in the 2010 elections. Even Democrats that were supposedly safe in their seats and reelection chances are finding themselves vulnerable now.