Best Strategy for the Democrats in the mid Elections
Finally Obama is going on the offensive. Here is the pick up from this NYT editorial: “It’s not like they’ve (Republicans) engaged in some heavy reflection. They have not come up with a single solitary new idea to address the challenges of the American people. They don’t have a single idea that’s different from George Bush’s ideas — not one. Instead, they’re betting on amnesia.”
Democrats could start to banish that haze of memory by reminding voters what is actually in those giant packages of legislation: Protections for patients against insurance companies. Rules keeping adult children on health policies, and requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions. A new consumer financial protection bureau to fight lending abuses. The preservation or creation of nearly three million jobs, averting Depression-level unemployment. The local benefits of stimulus projects.
Republicans fought against each of those measures, and seem to be spoiling to hold hostage middle-class tax cuts in order to preserve tax cuts for the rich. Democrats have been far too timid in taking on those issues, to the point that they now will have to do more than simply remind voters of Republican opposition.
For most voters, the only real issue is high unemployment, and it is here that Democrats seem to have set aside bold thinking and fallen into the Republican trap of placing deficit fears ahead of job revival. Rather than spend time during the campaign stoking anxiety over Social Security, Democrats should aggressively counter the myth that the deficit is causing unemployment, and advocate using government in ways that might re- inspire voters.
A few suggestions: Using the revenue from reinstating taxes on the rich to put people back to work, rebuilding and repairing the country. Providing robust support for state and local governments, many of which have cut past the bone. Repairing the unemployment system so that it is a real safety net and not a political tool.
As the economy recovers, there will be money available for sane and careful deficit reduction, territory the Democrats know far better than their opponents. A House or Senate controlled by Republicans, leading to longer stalemates and years of political posturing, is not the way to get there. Instead of shrinking from their accomplishments, Democrats should use their remaining time to build on them.