Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane have an interesting piece on the debate over whether Republicans should be for anything or just against Obama:
“The smart political approach would be to make the election about the Democrats,” said Neil Newhouse of the powerhouse Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, which is advising more than 50 House and Senate candidates. “In terms of our individual campaigns, I don’t think it does a great deal of good” to engage in a debate over the Republicans’ own agenda.
Others are skeptical that any Republican policy proposals will have much of an impact. “They really still have to have a sharp contrast with the Democrats,” said John McLaughlin, another leading Republican pollster whose firm counts both the House and Senate campaign committees among its clients. “They really need to drive that home before people will be willing to listen to what Republicans stand for.”
Interestingly, Boehner, and to an even larger extent, Newt Gingrich, think this is a nutty idea and that Republicans should offer policies. But what policies? This seems to be best they can do:
“There will be legislation. There will be bills. You’ll see what’s in them,” said McCarthy. He is gathering public suggestions on a Web site the party calls “America Speaking Out,” though traditional polling is likely to be the real GPS for drafting any legislation.
I hate to engage in politico-speak, but I can see why Republicans consultants would rather this be a referendum on the Democratic Congress (read: shitty economy) rather than a choice between Democrats and Republicans. If Republicans don’t come up with an ostensible agenda, Democrats need to remind voters what Republicans’ real agenda will be: obstruction, endless investigation, possible government shut-downs, more tax cuts for the rich.
And by the way, if you read the article through, you’ll see that the lack of substance is all Rahm’s fault.
Didn’t Republicans try this with Murtha’s seat? You know, the one they were supposed to win.
We’ll be gladly reminded by the media though that the ‘Democratic Congress can’t get anything done’, and leave it at that. After all, Dems ARE in charge, why can’t they get 50+1 through like the tyrants they are?
joe from Lowell
The Republicans only need to appear like an acceptable governing alternative. They don’t need to run on their agenda; they just need to look like they have a credible one.
They don’t seem to be any good at looking like a credible alternative, though.
Republicans sure can’t run on being Republicans. All they got is “Don’t you really want another housing bubble?”
Except that, based on the few policy pronouncements that they have made, they *haven’t* learned from the mistakes of the past few years. Indeed, they have denied that mistakes were made. Tax cuts for everyone wealthy! Less regulation of business!
This strategy is smart during election time. But Republicans have had the attack dial turned to 11 since the day Obama was elected, and at some point voters might tune it out as “same shit different day”.
um, i dunno as i am not politically savvy like the folks here, but it seems to me that the above is not really going to motivate anyone to vote FOR Ds, other than the politically-minded types who are already paying attention. maybe they should be FOR something…oops, sorry too dangerous.
I’m not all that interested in Republican Strategies. Republicans are always going to do whatever–their intentions are bad. I am concerned with Democratic strategies and what bugs me, whoever their author, is that they seem to wait on Republican ones. The question isn’t whether Republicans will run on no ideas, or bad ideas. The question is whether the Democrats can agressively target the Republican party as well as individual Republicans and utterly destroy them. Apparently Reid has begun actually attacking Angle directly and has seen a huge bounce up in his polling numbers. He didn’t wait for her to flounder, he didn’t wait for her to decide whether she would run against the dems, or for some kooky ideas. He went out and defined her. And its working (apparently).
When are the Dems going to realize that they can’t wait for the Republicans to screw up? They need to kneecap those bastards. Steve Benen endlessly and optimistically repeating the Republican’s worst lines of the last few months isn’t going to cut it. We need a concerted strategy. And I’m still not seeing it.
More wingnut Zen from Peter King
Too bad this was said on radio. Would have made a great thirty second teevee ad. Of course, otherwise, this strategy will be embraced by the idjits at CNN et al. The important story is preventing Black Panthers from pillaging the suburbs.
Can’t have issues being discussed in an election campaign.
Pretty pathetic when you have to read a 4 yr old article about the president’s COS to develop a strategy. Dems should run on Rahhhhm’s slogan, “The GOP are knucklefucks!”
@aimai: Maybe this will light your fire aimai
Chad N Freude
What, and give up hearing daily reinforcement of their prejudices and unanalyzed, self-contradictotry opinions? I beg to differ.
I think we can all stop pretending that the GOP has actual policy “alternatives” to offer the country. Wanna see Republican policy alternatives? Look at the healthcare reform bill, which achieves (near) universality using an individual mandate and subsidies while keeping the system 100% private (except for the VA and Medicare). Look at the climate bill stalled in Congress, which attempts to regulate carbon using cap and trade, originally a conservative idea. The GOP offered these policy alternatives and the Dems said “OK, sure!” But now the right cynically portrays these same policies as socialism and government tyranny. Why? Because the Bush years gave them a taste of their real policy preference: Anarcho-Corporatism.
Here is something republicans are for. And somebody gather the firewood, we will soon have another RINO to roast on an open pyre.
Can’t they just always put up the 10 Commandments, the 2nd Amendment, and the 5,000 year leap?
This is what I’ve seen from the DNC so far:
this one involves participation from supporters:
this is one is a site knocking the GOP for standing up for bp:
this is to register voters:
An ad: I think this should be a big part of the mid-term campaign – this is how republicans would govern
I think they are all good ideas and I hope they are waiting until after the summer to start pushing these and to go even harder. I’m not clear on what the message is for when they go on summer vacation. I also remember seeing something about Nancy Pelosi teasing reporters with a plan called “Making It In America” – manufacturing.
um, yeah, he did.
Oh, come on, the GOP has plenty of ideas.
Round up and gas the hispanics and blacks is an idea.
Killing more Muslims is an idea.
Throwing women in jail for exercising their reproductive rights is an idea.
Raising taxes on the poor to give to the rich is an idea.
Taking away people’s access to health car is an idea.
Gutting all state and federal regulation is an idea.
Replacing democracy with a theocracy is an idea.
They have plenty of ideas. Sure, they’re all crazy, bigoted ideas, but you can’t bash them for not having any.
Yes, general, I saw that this morning and its a very good start. But I’ve never thought that it was a good idea, or should be necessary,for Obama to be the attack dog. I want the rest of the dems and their strategists to be working on that line. Obama is a great president, and very good at what he does, but I don’t think it should be up to him to spearhead the attacks on the Republicans because its not one of the things he’s good at and, in addition, the whole effort has to be more broadbased than that. I want to see every known Democrat in Congress, and every single appointee, on my TV all day, every day, making fun of the Republicans for their corruption, their ineptitude, their lack of ideas, their deception of ordinary voters, their golf swing, their sleazy moral lives. If the Democrats made the Republicans the laughingstock and the punchline of every joke we wouldn’t have to worry about losing the house.
A little off topic (and apologies if it’s already been posted somewhere), but the big news story here in Colorado is the leading Rep. candidate for governor Scott McInnis has been accused of plagiarism.
My favorite part of the story? He paid a retired, 82 year-old engineer $100 to ‘help’ with the paper that he turned in as his own work and then collected $300 THOUSAND for it. When it all went to hell, he tried to blame this man and force him to sign a paper stating it was his fault, not McInnis’.
Your modern republican values at work.
Thats up to the TV producers, you notice Alan Grayson isn’t on TV anymore? It’s not because he doesn’t want to be.
I was going to wait for an Open Thread to post this, but I think this is still in the spirit of the discussion.
LOL, well stated, I would like to see more of that too. The campaign is just getting started and I think they will do OK. They upped their game in the fight fire with fire department the last two elections. But they could certainly do much much better at speaking plain tough, but honest talk in between elections. I suspect it is fundamentally against most dem natures to be ruthless in definition politics, and certainly sticking to message discipline without getting verbose and wishy washy.
Chad N Freude
@Nick: I saw that a few days ago. I consider it scientific support for the cynical opinion I expressed @Chad N Freude above. Epistemic Closure Rules!
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@Nick: Then we must swarm the TV stations. Call them endlessly. Harass them legally.
@Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:
they already do…or they did when I worked at one.
The point of the matter is that, even giving equal amounts of harassment and outrage from both sides of the spectrum, media outlets, for reasons up to speculation and debate, only seem to give credence to right-wing outrage, and actively denigrate the left-wing outrage to the point of marginalization.
It’s a broken system.
@Kryptik: yes, but they still have dems on to say their peace, and dems need to take full advantage of that.
For once the General and I are in full agreement. The Dems can’t simply bitch and moan about how no one wants them on TV, or doesn’t invite them back when they get all Grayson on the TV screen. TV people still need to “get” Dems on some of the time. They can’t make a go of it just duplicating fox news. I think if all the dems were better armed with a party line, strong messaging, and some talented training on how to present themselves they would begin to turn the tide (slightly) against the republican line. Good TV is good TV is eyeballs is ratings.
Look, there’s no point in the Nick’s of the world explaining to us that the entire thing is rigged against the dems. Sure. Of course. So what? If the Dems want to hold the power they’ve been given they’d better figure out a way to do it. The way they’ve gone about it: presenting a fractured party (the liebermans, Nelsons, lincolns and landrieus) isn’t cutting it. Waffling publicly. Failing to support the president in a full throated way. Not bothering to show up on the talk shows (because I think a ton of Dems don’t really want to be bothered with the talk shows unless they, themselves, are up for reelection), failing to learn to speak demagogic people speak is simply not working for them as a party, or for us as their supporters.
Recently there was a hysterically dopey letter to Ann landers. Some (very young) poor guy was complaining that he and his wife were about to have their third baby and he was unhappy–she was supposed to be in charge of the contraception and, somehow, those darned babies kept popping up. The uniform response of the readers of the column was to say “Oh? Plan A was for your wife to be responsible for the contraception? How’s that working out for ya? You might want to try a god damned plan B.” That’s all I’m saying. The dems have done very well getting Obama and a majority in both the Senate and the Congress in. But if they lose that advantage in the next election cycle there’s really no point in saying “its because the media were mean to us…” What’s the god damned plan B? We can’t afford to lose the House if we are to avoid endless investigations and crap impeachments.
@Genine: Hey, Genine! How you doing these days??
Here’s the thing. The more tax cuts for the rich doesn’t really hit home with a lot of voters. Most people care about themselves first. They don’t care about whether the rich get a tax cut as long as they are doing OK themselves. The argument that tax cuts for the rich by definition hurts everyone is more subtle than can be contained in a sound bite or a political poster, even if it were true.
Endless investigation is weak tea, also. A lot of people think that Congress does nothing but debate and investigate anyway.
Obstruction, on the other hand, is a possible winner. The Democrats need to counter the GOP’s RealAmerica(tm) with the simple facts laid out clearly:
“The GOP don’t care about you. They let Wall Street run wild. They protected lobbyists and corporate interests when the economy collapsed and millions lost their jobs.
When the Democrats asked Republicans to help come to the aid of the American people, the Republicans did nothing. They held up blank pieces of paper when asked for their alternatives. They refused to participate in drafting legislation to rescue the economy and to put people back to work.
And when asked what they will do to help the American people, they always reply that it is not the government’s job to help the American people. And then the push legislation to help big business and foreign corporations.
Vote America. Vote Democratic Party.”
I have no doubt that is true for the 2010 election. But how will they campaign in 2012? They will at that point be forced to defend their own record (assuming they take over the house). Or is their only goal to own the house for two years?
@Brachiator: I like.
The MSM loves Left-wing outrage…….when its aimed at Obama.
Their goal is to impeach Obama so they don’t have to run against him in 2012.
So how do you get those people who don’t really support the agenda to present a united front instead of a fractured party? Yes, unity and coordination would be better and would have more impact. The trouble is that the entire raison d’etre of like 35-50% of the party’s politicians is precisely to deny that unity — to run explicitly as “not like those other Democrats.” It would be more convenient strategically for the rest of the party for Blanche Lincoln to talk like a full-throated liberal Democrat, but she ain’t one, and she gets elected by _not_ being one.
IMHO coordinating the Democratic message so that all Democrats could agree on its specifics, or even its bullet points, is practically impossible.
I don’t think so. Even they know that they won’t get 67 Republicans in the Senate.
I still note the big difference between 1994 and today. Back in 1994, Newt at least put up a Contract On America that spelled out in ten easy steps how the Republicans were gonna screw up this country. It provided a rally point and topics of discussion. Its one positive boon was that it was FOR something. But today? Other than vague “we’ll have bills, you know it when you see it” BS the GOP leadership is pushing, the Republicans do NOT have a positive agenda to push forward (and no, MORE TAX CUTS is NOT a positive agenda when most Americans – 46 plurality saying taxes are just fine where they are – don’t have tax cuts as a major issue). Everything the Republicans are offering are acts of opposition: Repeal Health Care Reform! Repeal Financial Reform! Repeal everything Obama’s done! Booooo Obama! Impeach Obama (raise your hand if you KNOW the first thing a GOP-Controlled House is gonna do is impeach Obama for having a ‘fake’ birth certificate)! Let’s put a moratorium on ANY reform or regulation for a year!
This would be insane. It would worse than the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1867.
By the way, here is a little Wiki tidbit on the depth of the opposition to Johnson.
The Republicans might just be crazy enough to try to impeach Obama, even though they know that this shit would never, never, EVER, carry in the Senate.
I guess this would be a last-ditch effort to stall the Obama presidency. But in doing this they would have to give in totally to tea bagger and fundamentalist craziness.
Even if they succeeded in weakening Obama (and they won’t), they would weaken the GOP even more. And a one-term Obama presidency all but ensures a Hillary run in 2012.
But Obama will serve two terms. And later he will serve on the Supreme Court as Chief Justice (following the example of William Howard Taft).
Wait, isn’t this the same political/media class that spent all of 2006 wringing their hands about how the Democrats needed to have an agenda of their own, and not just run against Bush?
Do I really need to go dig out evidence from the archives of TNR, the Post, and Politico? That’s really not my favorite way to spend an afternoon. (/laziness)
Maybe if anyone in the media honestly gives a shit about this issue, they could actually, you know, *REPORT* on the positions and arguments of Republicans, instead of simply speculating about what they’ll do.
Oh, I forgot. Any idiot on the internet can go find information; only from the establishment media can you get top-notch speculation.