ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, criticized the conservative “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall this weekend as “blatantly political,” and predicts voters in swing districts will be turned off by “outrageous rhetoric on the right,” which he characterized as ranting conspiracy theories.
“Since the day President Obama was elected president, you’ve had a constant tirade against the president, against Democratic efforts to get the economy turned around. So let's call it what it is. It's a blatant political effort,” Van Hollen said. “It's a turnoff to the sensible center and the people who constitute the key independent voters in these swing districts."
Van Hollen was adamant in his belief that Democrats will retain a majority in the House.
“Congressional Republicans inside the beltway are already popping the champagne bottles, saying that they're going to seize control of United States Congress. It is a premature celebration,” Van Hollen said. “Reports of the House Democrats' demise are greatly exaggerated.”
When asked if he is concerned about some moderate Democrats broadcasting campaign ads that run away from the leadership of President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Van Hollen said it’s the responsibility of each lawmaker to represent his or her constituents by reflecting the views, priorities and values of his or her district.
“You're going to find people who are -- sometimes are voting with the president and voting the same way as the speaker. And on many cases they're going to be voting the other way. That's what it means to be an independent member of Congress,” Van Hollen said.
“The fact that these members of Congress are talking to their constituents about how they vote on particular issues and that they are independent-minded members of Congress is an appropriate thing for them to be doing,” Van Hollen added. “They should be laying out their record and talking to their constituents and demonstrating that they're doing their job.”
Van Hollen, who is seeking his fifth term in the House, said that ultimately voters must decide whether to continue moving forward on economic policies with Democrats, or return to the economic policies that he says brought the economy to the brink of depression.
“After the eight years of the Bush administration policies, our economy was driven into the ditch. And for the past 20 months, our Republican colleagues have been carping and criticizing every effort we've made to get the economy out of the ditch and back in gear,” the Maryland Democrat said. “Now, in 2010, just as a fragile recovery is under way, [Republicans] are asking the American people to give them the keys to the car again. But before they do that, the American people should read the Republicans' 2010 driving manual.”
"It is an agenda that is unsafe at any speed, and Americans are not going to go into hard reverse,” Van Hollen said. “I am confident that the Democrats will retain control of the House, which will allow us to continue to move this country forward rather than go back.”
--John R. Parkinson