Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineMenendez jabs State official over Colombian group's terror designation Democrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos Senate advances defense bill after delay MORE said Wednesday that GOP accusations of Democratic race-baiting are dishonest.
He said Republicans have injected race into the election.
“They’re just grasping at a whole lot of different stuff,” Kaine said at a lunch hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. “It was just a week ago that [Republican National Committee Chairman] Michael Steele said, ‘Our party hasn’t done enough to reach out to minority voters. We have to do more.’ I didn’t put out a press statement accusing him of race-baiting.
“That is completely non-controversial.”
Two years after Barack Obama became the first black president, in an election largely devoid of racial gamesmanship, the two national party committees are going after each other in strongly racial terms.
All of it stems from the 2010 electoral plan Democrats unveiled this week. The plan relies on turning out the roughly 15 million first-time voters who cast ballots for Obama in 2008, with many of those voters happening to be black or Latino. Democrats have said their efforts will focus on those minorities and cautioned that the GOP may seek to suppress their votes.
Steele said in a statement Wednesday that the strategy is a tired one that relies on racial divisiveness.
“Out of options, the president and his top campaign aide are going back to the Democrats’ worn-out playbook and making false and reprehensible accusations of voter suppression,” Steele said. “At what point will Chairman Kaine and the Democrats realize that polarizing this country on the lines of race is not only passé, it’s wrong and ineffective?”
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) also got in on the action. In an e-mail to reporters Wednesday, it accused the Democrats of playing “the race card from the bottom of the deck” and Kaine of a ploy to “shamelessly engage in race-baiting.”
Kaine pointed out that Steele recently said the GOP has failed to capture the imaginations of minority voters, and he said it was dishonest for Steele’s party to go after Democrats on similar grounds.
He acknowledged that the situation was turning nasty a full six months before the election, but he attributed it to the GOP’s desperation.
“There’s going to be a lot of weird stuff from the other side,” Kaine said. “But we’re talking results versus obstruction. Every time they do something wacky or off-topic, they’re making our case for us.”
Kaine on Wednesday laid out in more detail the DNC’s 2010 plans, which, in addition to turning out first-time voters from 2008, include sending $20 million to individual races and state parties and spending another $30 million on a national program geared toward the election.
Kaine said the contrast will be made between a party that is doing the “heavy lifting” — the Democrats — and a party that is standing in the way — the GOP. He acknowledged that sometimes the president’s initiatives have been unpopular, as with healthcare reform, but he said Democrats must make 2010 about a choice between the two parties and the Democrats’ progress on the economy and accomplishments.
He even invoked Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that the Republican Party has fallen hard and fast from the days the anti-slavery crusader president was in charge.
“If Abraham Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, would see that his party today, that their mission is to stop the Obama agenda?” Kaine said. “Is [the mission] an educated populace? Is it economic improvement? Is it being strong in the world? It’s to stop the Obama agenda.”
The first midterm election under a new president is generally seen as a referendum on the party in charge, rather than a straight-up comparison between the two parties. But Kaine said he’s happy to do battle in either contest.
Steele said he is happy to have Democrats run on what they’ve done in Congress.
“Under President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHead of North Carolina's health department steps down Appeals court appears wary of Trump's suit to block documents from Jan. 6 committee Patent trolls kill startups, but the Biden administration has the power to help MORE and congressional Democrats, the only people who have seen ‘results’ are the labor unions and special interests that funded their campaigns, while everyday Americans feel that they have been shut out of the democratic process,” Steele said. “Their candidates are heading into the midterms in the unenviable position of running on a record that includes raising taxes, running up the federal credit card and doing nothing to address record-breaking unemployment.”