Democratic strategists

John Harwood in the Monday New York Times gave a fair account of this dumbed-down view of American politics. There is a time for Democrats to attack Republicans, but only to promote real change helping real Americans.

As James Carville might say: It’s the jobs, stupid. Many Democratic strategists don’t care much about policy, but for anxious Americans who elected Democrats, it’s all about policy.

Democrats will do more to win in 2010 by creating 2 million new jobs than by spending $20 million to pay Democratic strategists to produce dirt-caked television ads.

Democrats should wage a policy war to create jobs. They should attack rising credit card interest rates and skyrocketing healthcare premiums. They should attack the foreclosure wave from bankers who take huge bailouts and pay themselves gargantuan bonuses.

Democrats should attack rising homelessness among veterans, women and children. They should attack the rip-off recession and rip-off recovery, where stock prices soar with every new layoff while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class gets screwed.

Democrats should attack when veterans don’t receive the best healthcare and when women are cheated by insurers. They should attack when Main Street jobs are exported to slave-wage nations, when banks refuse to lend to small businesses and when workers are treated like the petty cash of profiteers who lay them off to save money, all while collecting million-dollar salaries for themselves.

I support the reelection of Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey. But it is pathetic when a Democratic governor, running on his record in a Democratic state, is reduced to mocking his opponent’s body fat, while smirking Democratic strategists tell weak politicians in a jobless nation that this is what Democrats stand for.

Democrats should get off their behinds and pass an extension of unemployment benefits, pass a tax credit to create new jobs, pass some targeted public-works programs, pass an extension of the housing tax credit, pass a bill to freeze credit card rates and tell banks that either they voluntarily accept a six-month foreclosure freeze or Congress will enact it for them.

Democrats should attack when insurers issue a bogus report on the eve of the Finance Committee vote on healthcare that is an attempt to frighten consumers, a land-grab for more gluttonous profits, an expression of contempt for the committee and a humiliation of its chairman.

Democrats should pass the public option that is supported by a majority of voters and attack those who put insurance-industry profits ahead of the health of Main Street America. Democratic strategists need to learn to attack not the body fat of Republicans, but the fat cats that reap unearned income and unfair profits from the Gilded Age status quo that Americans elected Democrats to change.

Democratic strategists must realize that Americans are not stupid people to be manipulated by cheap-shot attacks. They are a good, fair and generous people with mortgages, frustrations, ambitions and dreams who elected Democrats to stand up for them.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at