Greg Sargent reports on Democrat’s latest efforts to turn the Titanic around for next year’s election by accusing the Republicans of wanting the economy to get worse:
In recent weeks, there’s been some question as to how far Dems are willing to go in making the explosive charge that Republicans are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy in order to improve their chances of defeating President Obama in 2012.
On a conference call just now with reporters, Senator Chuck Schumer made the most aggressive case we’ve heard yet along these lines, leaving little doubt that Dems are locking in behind this message as the deficit talks hit crunch time and as the 2012 campaign looms.
“Do they simply want the economy to go down the drain to further their political gain?” Schumer asked. “They seem to be against anything that may create jobs, because they view a weak economy as key to their political chances in 2012.”
“It’s an uncomfortable question, to be sure,” Schumer continued. “Are they trying to undermine the economy on purpose, for political gain? Harry Truman had a do-nothing Congress. The Republicans seem to be trying to make this a do-nothing-on-the-economy Congress.”
The key point here is that Dem messaging chief Schumer is signaling that each example like this will now be pressed into service to build the larger case that Republicans have decided that a worse economy for the country is better politically for them, so any measure that risks creating jobs must be opposed at all costs. It seems like a clear effort to bait the GOP into responding to the charges, so the country can hear an argument over the GOP’s true motives. This line of attack also seems designed to persuade voters — and commentators who are reluctant to accept this sort of thing — that No, both sides are notequally to blame for our current travails.
That was the whole point. I believe we were discussing this back in 2007-8 at DailyKos. Or was it lambert at Corrente who asked if Republicans were going to make Democrats hold the bag? In any case, there is nothing surprising about the Republicans’ tactics. It’s really a win-win for them. If they make everyone miserable enough in the short term, they’ll extract a lot of concessions on Social Security and Medicare in the long term. Your unemployment benefits, severance pay and savings only go so far. When they’re gone, and reality sets in, and your house is underwater, postponing pain into the future makes more sense than losing everything in the present.
Republicans don’t even have to win next year. It’s unlikely that the American public will get the whole picture in time to reduce their numbers to a minority so small they can’t do any further harm. So, as long as they have even one member who exceeds the number required to oppose everything the presiding majority wants to do, they will continue to obstruct. We really should have let the South secede. It seems determined to wait everyone out until we give them back slavery and let them go.
But if they win next year by making Obama and the Democrats look really, really bad, then they will have carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want. I’m going to take a guess that the thing they are going to do first with that opportunity is make damn sure their voting strength in Congress is never so diluted that their votes can be discounted. That way, no matter what happens after 2016, there will be no turning back the clock to a more New Dealish/Great Society moment again. That’s what *I* would do if I were fiendishly disposed to hold onto power. Look for the Supreme Court to somehow roll back voting rights in such a way that poor and middle class voters are somehow not as equal as they used to be.
It’s too bad that Obama and the Democrats didn’t see this coming. Oh, please, of course they saw this coming. They either didn’t want to do anything about it or were in denial. Let this be a lesson to Democratic base voters. The next time you want someone to forcefully push back against your enemies, vote for the hairy, unibrowed Atilla-the-Hun type candidate and not the student body president type.
It’s too late for Democrats to dig their way out of this one by placing the blame on the Republicans. Yes, it is the Republicans’ fault. They are that bad. But the Democrats squandered their opportunity to change this narrative back in 2008 just after Obama was elected. They should have come out of the gate swinging, attempted to control the media, reinstituted the fairness doctrine, reappointed the board to CPB, carefully metered Obama’s appearances to make the most of his impact and screamed bloody murder in the most hyperbolic manner possible. That’s what the Republicans would have done. Allowing themselves to be bullied into cooperating with the Republicans was the dumbest thing they ever did.
Well, that and passing on Hillary the IronClad for Obama the Tofu. By the end of the primaries in 2008, the media had spent itself on Hillary and she was still winning primary states. Their barbs were bouncing off of her with little effect. Obama, on the other hand, had to be lifted and gently carried over the finish line to “win” the nomination. He never really had to prove himself against the right wing noise leviathan. And then Fox News got to work destroying the Democrats with their assistance. The President *is* a Democrat (nominally) and the Senate *is* in Democratic hands. What, *exactly*, is the problem here? Yes, yes, we know all about the numbers but the problem is that Democrats did not use their power to scare the Republicans during the short period of time when they could have made a difference. And they had Steny Hoyer digging up salacious stories on Liberal Democrats that he didn’t like. That didn’t help.
So, Chuck Shumer is pissing in the wind. The problem is intrinsic to the Democrats and no amount of directing the blame where it belongs is going to work until the party gets its act together. You aren’t going to get Americans to turn on Republicans until they see the Democrats are going to go out of their way to try to help them. They don’t see any evidence of that. Partly, that’s a result of Democrats selling out to the monied class, part of it has to do with the fact that Democrats hobbled themselves with the Party Unity shtick at the convention that didn’t include the “old coalition”, that is, the elderly, working class (meaning all of us who don’t live off our investments), poor and women.
The Republicans have framed the Democrats as cowardly, craven milquetoasts. Yep, that’s about the way I see it. If the frame fits…
Hey, remember this hit from 2008? Funny how not everyone in that crowd looked like partying…
Filed under: General | Tagged: campaign 2012, Chuck Schumer, Democrats, Economy, framing, greg sargent, Obama, Republicans | 32 Comments »