Don’t Call Me a Congressman

The smartest trend story I saw all weekend was Alex Isenstadt’s eye-roll about Republican freshmen who don’t tell voters they’re actually incumbents. The candidates facing rematches against the guys they beat last time are simply pretending that they never beat those guys, that villainous incumbent Democrats have been doing damage for two more years. Case in point: southeast Ohio’s Rep. Bill Johnson.

Rep. Dan Benishek won an open seat in 2010 (Michigan’s Bart Stupak retired, leaving Democrats holding the bag for a district that covered the whole upper peninsula), so he’s got no re-matcher to attack. He still manages to talk about politics as if he’s just a doctor with some big dreams.

I read Isenstadt and wondered: Do Democrats try to get away with this? They haven’t achieved much in two years, either. And while I found a smattering of Dem ads that talk up the Obama record (Sherrod Brown saluting the auto bailout, for example), I noticed other Dem incumbents making no mention of their current service. Take Rep. Martin Henrich of New Mexico, a two-term star now running for U.S. Senate.

He mentions what he did on the city council, but not in Congress! And you can see why. A Democrat who took office in 2007 has served during a total collapse in employment numbers, personal wealth, and real estate equity. Better to focus on the homes he might build if you give him another chance.