Democratic groups take shots at weakened GOP and set sights on the House in 2014

On Wednesday night's edition of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow discussed the ways in which Democratic politicians and members of the U.S. House of Representatives are hoping to benefit from the Republican Party's decision to shut down the federal government.

Early in the segment, she discussed how at the beginning of this week, there were some Republicans who were asking for a chance to vote on a "clean continuing resolution" in order to reopen the government and stop the shutdown. Since then, most of them have hewn to the party line.

Groups like Americans United for Change have started running aggressive ads in the districts of pro-shutdown members of Congress and are using the increasingly unpopular work stoppage and its economic after-effects to their advantage.

Americans United for Change has targeted nine other Republican House members who supported the shutdown, "but they're not alone," said Maddow. "Others are running ads trying to capitalize politically off the shutdown votes."

Organizing for America, the American Bridge PAC and other liberal groups are making hay of the GOP-led shutdown, trying to fight back against GOP gerrymandering and possibly take back the House in 2014.

The House Majority PAC released an ad of just a toddler whining and pitching a tantrum as a voice-over said, "Speaker John Boehner didn't get his way on shutting down health care reform. So he shut down the government and hurt the economy. House Majority." The screen flashed the Twitter hashtag #GOPTemperTantrum.

"Not subtle," said Maddow.

"What you're seeing here," she continued, "What this looks like, at least, is the playbook. This is essentially a dry run for the Democratic playbook for the mid-term elections next year, testing to see what works and what sticks and what packs a punch."

This thought that the Democrats could take the House in 2014 seemed a little ridiculous less than a year ago. Historically the president's party always loses big in mid-term elections and Republicans have thoroughly gerrymandered state districts in the House to ensure that Democrats remain in the minority.

However, she and guest Bill Burton of the Global Strategy Group concluded, the shutdown is proving to be epically unpopular enough that Democrats may actually have a shot at opening up a slim majority in the House.

"It is getting to the place that we could actually win a whole lot of seats," said Burton of current poll numbers, "but we'll see if the Republicans will really fumble the ball enough that Democrats can take advantage of it."

Watch the video, embedded below via MSNBC:

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