I guess we had better start paying closer attention to how the establishment press labels -- and mislabels -- congressional districts.
The headline at the Associated Press at a lengthy column composed by Charles Babington bemoaning the lack of willingness of Ohio First District Congressman Steve Chabot to "compromise," i.e., sell out his principles, reads as follows: "PARTISAN DISCORD FINDS ROOTS IN TOSS-UP DISTRICTS." Uh, Chabot won the district in the 2012 elections by 20 points. Babington's attempt to justify the "toss-up" classification also falls flat:
If any Republican House members might be open to compromise with President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Steve Chabot would seem near the top of the list. He comes from an area so politically competitive that he lost his seat in 2008 to a Democrat, then won a rematch two years later. His new, redrawn district is safer, but Mitt Romney's 5-point margin over Obama was hardly a landslide.
Chabot lost in 2008 to a Democrat, Steve Driehaus, who pretended to be pro-life and moderate, and was neither.
Despite his pro-life pretense, Driehaus voted for ObamaCare. In 2010, the pro-life political actiona group Susan B. Anthony's List (SBAL) went after Driehaus for his obviously antilife vote. After Chabot defeated Driehaus in that year's rematch by 5-1/2 points, Driehaus sued SBAL for (I'm not kidding) "loss of livelihood." Fortunately, Driehaus's sore-loser claim finally got tossed in January.
It's not impossible, but nevertheless quite difficult hard to imagine that there's a Democrat who can pull off the lie about being pro-life as Driehaus did for a time and defeat Chabot. His 2012 opponent was pro-life in the middle of the previous decade but, like so many other Democrats, has somehow changed his mind about the importance of defending the unborn in recent years.
Babington's definition of "compromise" seems to be "agree to tax increases every time President Obama asks for them, in return for spending cuts which never occur," as seen in this passage:
Obama repeatedly says he can't begin to rein in costly entitlement programs dear to liberals such as Medicare and Social Security without Republicans agreeing to new taxes, chiefly on the rich. That's a non-starter for Chabot.
"I think we're already overtaxed," he told the gathering here. If anything, taxes should be cut, he said.
Like most of his House GOP colleagues, Chabot says Obama extracted all the new tax revenue he'll get when he forced Republicans to swallow the year-end "fiscal cliff" deal. It will generate about $620 billion in new revenues over 10 years. That's well below the $1 trillion the Republican House speaker suggested in December as part of a deficit-reduction "grand bargain," which never came to fruition.
Charles, Charles -- The "grand baragin" assumed meaningful action on genuine spending cuts. Obama got his most recent tax increase and then tried and failed (so far) to undo the sequestration cuts.
Back on point: If Babington and AP really think OH-01 as currently drawn is a "toss-up" district, their definition of "toss-up" must really be: "Any congressional district represented by a Republican."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.