With DeLay sinking ever deeper in his ocean of ethical violation, DCCC chief Rahm Emanuel has decided to capitalize:

Democratic House leaders are casting about for squeaky-clean congressional candidates — even if they’re long shots — to challenge prominent GOP incumbents who have been tainted by news reports of their allegedly unseemly connection to lobbyists. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) strategy, still in development, aims to make ethical charges the touchstone of those campaigns and would use several high-profile local races to create a national image of corruption in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. Several Democratic lawmakers and aides said that Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) will be the first target of this new strategy.

Explicitly borrowing from the anti-corruption planks in Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” and hoping to replicate the 1994 watershed victory that followed, the new plan suggests that Democratic leaders believe they need to weave themes of abuse of power into any successful campaign to recapture the House.

James Joyner snarks this and wonders if the Democrats might consider taking another page out of Gingrich's 2008 playbook and craft a bold and compelling agenda to run on. But the Contract With America didn't appear until six weeks before the election. At this point in the cycle, Newt and his forces were sinking Bill Clinton's health care plan and piling on the ethical violations of congressional Democrats. And judging from how the Social Security fight is progressing and the ever-mounting allegations against DeLay, I'd say Democrats are right on schedule.

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