Doom and gloom are the watchwords for the Democrats these days. Conventional wisdom has it that we are going to get skunked in the November elections and that the pendulum is going to swing pretty far back. Charlie Cook is predicting big losses, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball today has the Republicans gaining 47 House seats and coming perilously close to taking over the Senate, and Democratic pollsters have that hangdog look.
The one thing that almost always strikes me at this time of year during the
political season is how the conventional wisdom very often turns out to be wrong.
Voters have a way of surprising those of us who think we have all the answers!
The political landscape is strewn with “sure winners” and those whose electoral
success was predicted by the Washington insiders — Presidents Dewey, Muskie and
Dukakis come to mind.
True, we have become pretty adept at pulling together all the economic indicators, taking nonstop polls, slicing and dicing the electorate and modeling turnout. All of this has turned the predicting game into more of a science. But often the curveballs do come at the last minute and factors we haven’t considered, or cast aside, become salient.
In my view, there is one important factor in this election we may be underestimating.
Voters are very skeptical of Republicans. Heck, they are defeating them in primaries in favor of Tea Party candidates and extreme nominees. Look at Alaska, Nevada, Kentucky, Florida, Connecticut, Utah, Colorado and, possibly, Delaware, still to come. This is not the mark of a settled and “together” party. Voters get that, and their regard for Republicans in most polls is even lower than for Democrats, who are in power.
So that brings me to the strategic narrative for the next 60 days. For the past 20 months, the Republican Party has been the “Do-Nothing Party.” Not just the party of “NO,” not just the Obstructionist Party, but the party that offers precious little in the way of ideas, a program, a roadmap for America’s future.
Democrats should go after individual Republican candidates with the message that, first, they were the ones who got us into this economic meltdown and, second, they have put nothing on the table to get us out of the mess. Rather, it is the Democrats who have succeeded in proposing ideas and passing solutions.
All talk, no action, is what we have been getting from Republicans this past year and a half. What makes you think that if you elect them, turn over Congress to them, that anything different will occur? They opposed cracking down on Wall Street; what makes you think they won’t continue their ways of being the Grand Old Party of large banking conglomerates and investment houses? They profess to support small businesses but won’t back a $30 billion loan program and tax cuts that Obama proposes. They insist on giving Americans who make over $1 million a $100,000 tax cut that has ballooned the deficit and hurt working families.
The bottom line is not unlike 1948, when Truman defeated Dewey and campaigned against the Republican Congress. If you like the “Do-Nothing Republicans” now, just wait until they become the “Do-Nothing Congress.” Just wait to see real gridlock in Washington, with Republicans devoid of anything other than their anti-government, cut-taxes rhetoric. If you want to see these problems solved, you better elect members of Congress who are committed to solving them, not doing nothing.