The Battleground Congressional Year Politics of COVID-19


This is a pretty tough time to make political hay, but for two Republicans seeking to reclaim congressional seats for the GOP,  the opportunity is too good to pass up.

Tom Kean Jr., who is running in CD-7 against Tom Malinowski and Rosemary Becchi, who is challenging Mikie Sherrill in CD-11, both fired off statements Monday  trashing Senate Democrats for holding up a massive coronavirus stimulus bill.

The gist of both statements was the same – Democrats are shamefully putting partisan politics ahead of something as basic and vital as helping the American people during a time of crisis.

Becchi called the Dems’ action “shameful, disgusting and dangerous.”

Kean said Malinowski has failed the test of “moral leadership.”

This is, as they say, low hanging fruit for Republicans.

Many people don’t follow the details of political skirmishes all that closely. And the headlines are straightforward – twice so far this week, Senate Democrats opposed procedural votes in the Senate to move the stimulus package forward.

This has nothing directly to do with Malinowski and Sherrill. Formal action is taking place in the Senate, not the House.  But the point here is that Democrats in general are messing things up for silly
political reasons.

This can be a successful area of attack – as far as it goes.

Those who read beyond the headlines – assuming people are doing that in the midst of a medical emergency – may conclude that the Democrats’ argument is not all that crazy. In short, Democrats say they want to ensure that the bulk of relief money goes to average people and not corporate CEOs and stockholders.

This is not an unreasonable point.

As it turned out, both Malinowski and Sherrill had telephone town halls Monday night. And when this issue came up, they reiterated that point.

A stimulus bill in the Senate probably will be agreed upon soon. And in truth, if a relief package is signed on, say, March 26 rather than March 22, it’s really not going to make a whole lot of difference down
the road.

But what, if any, difference this dust-up makes in this year’s congressional elections remains to be seen. Kean and Becchi certainly hope it means something.

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