In an unofficial start to the last stretch of the 2010 campaign season, top officials throughout the Democratic Party upped the rhetoric on Wednesday, spotlighting the crazier characters and policy positions that could land in Congress with GOP gains.
No one, however, brought as much gusto to the pitch as Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.). Introducing DNC Chairman Tim Kaine at the University of Pennsylvania, the retiring Pennsylvania Democrat, known for his oratorical flair, warned about the government being taken over by "whackos." He called some of the more colorful characters in the Republican Party "fruit loops." He derided House Minority Leader John Boehner as "the tan guy," and said that some of the GOP's positions are "flat out crazy."
"I'm telling you," Rendell said. "If I'm an independent voter in [Rep.] Patrick Murphy's district, sure I'm worried about the deficit but I sure as heck am worried about people who want to do away with the 14th amendment. I'm sure as heck worried about people who don't think the president was born in the United States of America. I sure as heck am worried about people who think that workers are staying home because of unemployment benefits... they are nuts. They are flat-out crazy."
"We are going to turn the reins of the Congress over to these people who are more and more dominated by the whacko right?" he added.
Following Rendell on the stage, Kaine took a slightly less rowdy approach to his castigation of the GOP, choosing instead to go through a list of the more outlandish Senate candidates and their inflammatory positions.
In all, however, this appears to be the last push Democrats will make as the election looms. The policies passed by the Democratic Congress have not sold as well as planned with the American public. The president doesn't have the same political sway as he did just months ago. And the economy has yet to recover to a level that leaves the public comforted. The final resort to motivate voters rests in pointing out how much worse a change of power could be. Rendell himself hinted as much when he noted at the beginning of his remarks that if the Democratic Party "can bridge the enthusiasm gap, we can win."
White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod offered as much when he told the Huffington Post that a Republican-controlled Congress in 2010 could push policies worse than those that defined the Bush administration.
"I saw that [Alaska GOP Senate candidate] Joe Miller said that he would abolish Social Security if he had the chance and he is not alone," said Axelrod. "This is akin to what [Nevada GOP Senate candidate] Sharron Angle has said in Nevada and also a number of these other Republicans. So, this could go one step beyond the policies of the Bush administration to something more extreme than we have seen."