Rep. Jerry Nadler with Howie Klein

The Democratic Party made modest gains Tuesday, in the U.S. House:

[H]istory shows us that it’s hard for the incumbent president’s party to pick up a huge amount of seats when he’s up for reelection.

But Republicans under Ronald Reagan (16 seats) and Richard Nixon (12 seats) both gained more than Democrats under Obama. And perhaps most importantly, Democrats went into the 2012 election with their smallest minority in 60 years and had lots of ground to gain, given all the tea party-backed freshman Republicans who won in 2010.

Some argue the chances of larger gains ended in the 2010 state-level elections that brought the GOP in control of enough legislatures that they drove the post-census redistricting process out of reach for Democrats in hundreds of state legislative, and scores of national legislative districts.

Inveterate Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee critic, Howie Klein, watched the performance of DCCC-backed candidates this year, dating back to his coverage of the Democratic Party primaries from early spring through the summer.  His early post-electon assessment of DCCC Chairman, Rep. Steve Israel, is as withering as were his critiques through the year.  Here is Klein, damning Israel for using DCCC-related money to take out ads against a progressive Democrat in West Virginia:

So Israel, who “officially” left the right-wing Blue Dog caucus and New Dem Coalition when he decided to go for a Democratic Party leadership role, set about trying to make sure to leave a clear path for Oliverio in 2014. The problem was just some activist grandmother with a grassroots following, Sue Thorn. Needless to say, Israel directed the DCCC and its allies and affiliates to ignore her and he told big Democratic donors to not give her any money. But he didn’t stop there. Even though the Democrats hold a heavy registration advantage in WV-01 and even though Thorn outpolled McKinley in the primary this year (49,203 to 36,107), Israel connived with the Blue Dog PAC, Center Forward, to run TV spots against Sue Thorn. Yeah… read that again. He the chairman of the DCCC, who Nancy Pelosi admiringly describes as reptilian, watched with glee as his close allies at the Blue Dog Research Forum (now called Center Forward) took out TV spots not just for reactionary, anti-Choice Democrats like Joe Donnelly, Mike McIntyre, Jim Matheson, Ben Chandler and John Barrow, but also for reactionary, anti-Choice Republican David McKinley. Ever hear of anything like that before? Is that why Pelosi called him “reptilian?” No, she thinks he’s fabulous.

Or she did. I wonder what she thinks about the breathtaking incompetence so clearly demonstrated across the board last night. All his horrid Blue Dog recruits lost. And, tragically, he was the cause of so many progressives who had ZERO DCCC support losing as well. In WV-01 Sue was beaten out by McKinley– one of the few things that went the way Israel planned it– around 60 to 40%.

If Howie Klein isn’t the only articulate critic of Rep. Israel, he is the most persistent:

We’ll get more into this is the coming days but every single Blue Dog Israel recruited– and wasted so much money on (money that could have gone to help progressives win)– has either lost or is losing tonight, as did Blue Dog incumbents Ben Chandler (KY) and Larry Kissell (NC). It’s like a redux of the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010. When will the corrupt Inside-the-Beltway Democratic Establishment learn that actual Democratic voters don’t want Blue Dogs and that Republicans have their own reactionaries so they don’t need them? These were the Blue Dogs Israel was trying to get over:

 Dave Crooks (IN)- LOST!
 Pete Gallego (TX)- undecided but losing narrowly
 Pam Gulleson (ND)- LOST!
 Nick Lampson (TX)- LOST!
 Gary McDowell (MI)- undecided but losing narrowly
 Brendan Mullen (IN)- LOST!
 Sal Pace (CO)- LOST!
 Hayden Rogers (NC)- LOST!
 Rob Wallace (OK)- LOST!
 Charlie Wilson (OH)- LOST!

When will Israel tender his resignation? With Obama, Senate Democrats and House progressives all doing so well, Steve Israel (and his allies Joe Crowley and Steny Hoyer) were the skunks at tonight’s party.

Will the Obama administration wake up and push for the DCCC to become friendly to progressive candidates?  As Klein notes above, “When will the corrupt Inside-the-Beltway Democratic Establishment learn that actual Democratic voters don’t want Blue Dogs and that Republicans have their own reactionaries so they don’t need them?”

To take back the House in 2014, the Democrats need to do the opposite of what Obama functionaries like Rahm Emanuel did to progressive activists and candidates between 2008 and 2012.  By the beginning of December we will see if the White House will move leftward in the upcoming term.  If they do move left, and want to regain the U.S. House, pushing for a full purge of the DCCC might be a helluva a place to start.

Photo by Jerry Nadler under a Creative Commons license on Flickr