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GOP energized, but are Democrats really in trouble?

January 7, 2010 | 10:50 am

With Democrats bailing from the Senate and from statewide races all over the country, Republicans are planning a recruitment drive, eager to capitalize on the backlash to the big-spending policies of the Obama administration and a Congress steered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who heads the recruitment effort at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said potential GOP candidates are now calling him.

"We've got people calling from all over the country, saying, 'I want to run,'" he told the Washington Times. "People are concerned about the direction of the country. We've got doctors, farmers, business people — people from all walks of life."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he thinks the departures of Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, along with the party conversion of a congressman in Alabama, spell trouble for the Democrats. "You see a growing pattern developing that has to mean that John Boehner, for example, feels pretty encouraged that he might become the speaker of the House after this election," he told Sean Hannity.

But are Democrats really in trouble in 2010?

Democrats point to Dodd's departure as good news, and add that the tea party activists angry about taxes and healthcare are pushing the Republicans to the right, a no-comfort zone for independents. As the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart pointed out, tea partiers took down Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer, who announced his resignation Tuesday, saying otherwise his critics would have attempted to "burn the house down and destroy the Republican Party." 

Enough from the commentariat. What do you think will happen in 2010 -- blood bath for Democrats or the usual midterm correction?

-- Johanna Neuman

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