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How much credit does Rahm Emanuel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, deserve for his party's success last night? Rick Perlstein has an intriguing analysis of the conservative strategy followed by the Machiavelli of the 5th District at The New Republic Online (registration required, but there's an excerpt at MyDD):
"Not all Emanuel's losing recruits were beaten in primaries. Some were beaten in the general election. . . . Dan Seals, a black moderate in the Barack Obama mold who criticized the Democratic Party even in speeches to Democratic crowds, lost to the Republican incumbent in Emanuel's backyard, Illinois's 10th District -- as did the DCCC's most talked-about recruit, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois's 6th. Emanuel poured as astonishing $3 million into her campaign. It bought her a three-point defeat. Activists say the money would have been better spent on all the promising candidates to whom Rahm wouldn't give the time of day."
Emanuel spent money in the primary to help his handpicked out-of-district candidate defeat grassroots local Christine Cegelis (who ran a respectable race against eternal incumbent Henry Hyde), rather than let the district's own Democratic leadership decide who to put up. Commenters discuss Howard Dean's competing 50-state strategy as well.