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Brent Budowsky: Obama can rise again

Greg Nash

Democrats can win in 2014 the way Harry Truman won in 1948. President Obama, Democratic leaders in Congress, former President Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Organizing for Action, the Ready for Hillary super-PAC and Democrats everywhere should launch an aggressive campaign with the following theme for 2014:

Voters who disapprove of Congress should “throw out the bums” who create the conditions that voters despise, and should defeat do-nothing and obstruct-everything Republicans in Washington.

{mosads}Those who stampede with the herd and overemphasize the negative about Obama might reread the Gallup polls in September and October 2011, which were virtually identical to polling today, and media commentary then, which was virtually identical to commentary today.

One year after Obama’s low in 2011, he won a resounding reelection victory. Democrats performed brilliantly in Senate elections. Democrats gained seats in the House and won a million more votes than House Republicans nationally.

Yes, the president has hurdles to overcome, but he can certainly rise again as he did after October 2011.

Once the healthcare website is fixed, which it will be; and the president fulfills his promise to help those who have lost their policies, which he will do; and enrollments rise dramatically, which they ultimately will; Republicans will be left telling millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions — most of whom are women, workers, children, seniors or disabled Americans — that they must lose insurance Obama won for them. Or, they must praise the president for this achievement. 

The winning strategy for Obama is the give ’em hell truth-telling against do-nothing Republicans that reelected Truman and turned Congress Democratic in 1948.

If a president with 40 percent approval launches an aggressive offensive against obstruction by Washington Republicans with 9 percent approval, the president wins.

There are powerful demographic and ideological reasons that Democrats won, and Republicans lost, House and Senate elections in 2006; presidential, House and Senate elections in 2008; and presidential, House and Senate elections in 2012.

The outlier against center-left Democratic victories between 2006 and 2012 was 2010, won by House Republicans who now wallow under the most unfavorable ratings in polling history. This center-left trend could well continue in 2016. The latest NBC poll shows Hillary Clinton winning big over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the country’s North, South, East and West regions.

Consider the disastrously low ratings of the GOP, the collapsed poll ratings of the Tea Party, the anemic single-digit favorable ratings of the Republican House, the fundraising and recruitment successes of congressional Democrats and the intra-party carnage that has turned the GOP brand into a freak show of warring factions waging primaries and blood feuds against one another.

The president will escalate his battle for immigration reform. Either he wins in Congress, or do-nothing Republicans will be blamed by outraged Hispanics — for a generation — for killing immigration reform.

If the president wages a sustained campaign for a major jobs program to rebuild America, he will be supported by business and labor. If Republicans destroy this hope for jobs, Obama rises, and the GOP falls even lower. Americans want more jobs, not more do-nothing GOP obstruction.

While Sarah Palin claims on television that Pope Francis is a liberal, the president will win by honoring the holiday season and battling against GOP efforts to take food from hungry children.

When the president continues his battle for pay equity for women, and for his superbly qualified female judicial nominees who are being attacked by the latest filibuster abuse in the latest GOP war against the interests of women, the president rises, and the GOP falls.

If Senate Democrats change the rules to end filibuster abuse, and the president explains how systematic obstruction by Republicans hurts America, he will rise again with a Trumanesque victory and dramatize why do-nothing, obstruct-everything Republicans are the great source of vast discontent against Washington.


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

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