Friday, September 24, 2010

The Democrats: poltical strategist as oxymoron

With the elections a little more than a month away and the Democrats seemingly losing traction every day, one thing has stayed the same -- Democrats and Democratic political strategists don't seem to have a clue as to what to do or how to win.

Most refuse to acknowledge what is painfully obvious -- they are in big trouble for only one reason --Barack Obama and his half baked, convictionless presidency of disappointments and deceit, a presidency that has Democrats, moderates, liberals and independents, everyone from the Congressional Black Caucus to school teachers and liberal bloggers, fed up with him. And for very good reasons.

He makes policy that always puts his own political standing first, (or, to show how inept they are at the White House, what they thought would help his political standing) which is why he always sells out, pushes for half way measures, and has shown no real ability or even desire, political or otherwise to accomplish any of the things that people who voted for him had elected him to do.

I said in 2008 after hearing him speak a few times that he was a classic snake oil salesman who had nothing real to say, pitching himself as being "good for what ails ya" with nothing genuine in the bottle. He's proved that to be true. Even a former supporter like Matt Taibii of Rolling Stone accused Obama of a bait and switch on healthcare reform. But unfortunately many Democrats and 90% of the news media thought the color of his skin alone was what America needed. It wouldnt have made Martin Luther King happy.

Obama has sold out, watered down, or corrupted every major initiative the Democrats had promised in order to get Republicans off his back. And it seems everyone knows it but Democratic strategists and the candidates involved in the coming election. They wrongly think that people, especially independents are turning away from Democrats because they are buying Republican arguments. They arent. Its not the deficit that has caused a hemmorage in independent support, and it isnt the supposed health care reform or the stimulus. Its that none of these things worked because none of them went far enough because of Obama.

There are strong and compelling arguments Democrats can make for retaining control of congress but in continuing to prove that Democrats, and especially the White House makes the Marx Brothers look like Bill Clinton when it comes to politics, Joe Biden, recently making an appearance on The Colbert Report thought it was a good time to give Bush "a lot of credit" for supporting the troops. Biden's exact words were, " you deserve a lot of credit Mr. President".

This is how the White House thinks Democrats are going to win an election. And excuse me, but credit for what? For lying the country into a war it didn't need to fight? For initiating the first pre-emptive war in American history? A war based on lies and the fabrication of "evidence" of Sadaam's non-existant ties to Al-Qaeda to use as an excuse to go to war? Credit for a war they didn't pay for and cost the taxpayers $1 trillion over the last 8 years which exploded the deficit? For being the first president in history to go to war and cut taxes at the same time? For having the unpaid for war be accountable for $1 trillion of the $1.7 trillion deficit that the Republicans are now tying around the Democrats neck like a noose? Have you heard one candidate or Obama make this simple point? What the Republicans did by invading Iraq and the fiscal policies surrounding it alone could be used to discredit them.

So what is wrong with these guys? As Casey Stengel once said of the 1962 Mets, cant anyone here play this game?

Biden went on to say about Bush: "Mr. President, thank you. You've honored these guys. You've honored these women. You've honored these troops." Saying that a month before the congressional elections is certainly going to turn people out for the Democrats in the fall isnt it?
As long as Democratic politicians and their advisors and "strategists" continue to deny that their problem is Obama and the fact that it was his tepid half way measures that didn't go far enough to solve problems that is the cause of voter disillusionment, they dont have a chance.

Obama and his administration both politically and with policy, has made the staff of Mad Magazine look like a think tank, and if the Democrats dont admit it they are going to get whacked. Again not because the bills the congress passed went too far a Republicans try and sell, but because of Obama they didn't go far enough. If unemployment was 6 or 7% instead of close to 10% no one would care about the deficit and a bigger stimulus would have accomplished that.

The voters that elected Obama and a Democratic congress wanted and expected more. Instead what they got from Obama was the sell out of the public option and real healthcare reform because he couldn't stand the heat from Republicans, and the same with financial reform.
His stimulus was too little, because, like his Afghanistan policy, he was more interested in a half way measure to try and mollify both sides for his own political well being

According the latest Gallup poll only 25% of Democrats are "enthusiastic" about voting this year. And who can blame them? But this doesn't mean Democrats have to lose. They are compelling arguments to be made for keeping the Democrats in control of congress. Its having Obama in control that people are now "enthusiatically" against.

But how many Democratic strategists have the guts to say the way to win is to distance yourself from Obama? To say they too are disappointed and angry about the Presidents performance but vow not leave it to the president? The answer is none. But that is the only way Democrats retain control of congress.Whether they like it or not. Any Democrat in a relatively close election supporting Obama will likely lose. They will have all sides against him or her. Those who would oppose Obama no matter what, those Democrats who voted for Obama and are fed up, and those Democrats who didn't want him in the first place and are saying to the rest of the Democratic establishment, "I told you so".

There is the strongest possible case to be made that the best way out of the sagging economy is with a Democratic congress. A congress willing to take the reins from Obama and do it themselves. And to point out that given the Republican track record of total failure since 1993, the best hope to get the economy going is a Democratic congress, not a Republican one.

But the only way that message has credibility is to turn away from Obama.

If people accept that a Democratic member of congress understands and agrees with their anger and frustration over Obama's weaknesses and failures, the best case in the world can be made that a Republican congress would make it worse and that a Democratic congress no longer willing to let Obama set the agenda is the best chance the country has to recover from the economic problems the Republicans caused.

But now as in the past, "Democratic strategist" has been an oxymoron going back to Al Gore's presidential campaign. The Democrats have the right policies but the wrong president and no strategists who know how to frame an argument courageously. They need to speak with one voice, admit Obama's failures and promise to deliver what should have been done in the first place. Then they may get the chance to do just that.


Anonymous said...

are you talking about the same people who thought it would be good idea to put him in WH in the first place? then it is an oxymoron indeed

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more except that I don't care if the repugs take over. I agree they will make things worse but the last election showed us the dems won't fix it. They won't buck Obama unless we make them. Weiner was the strongest voice for a single payer and he enabled the healthcare bill any way. The progressive who said they wanted single payer didn't put their foot down and demand to be heard - not like the guys who stripped out abortion coverage. I am in the "throw the bums out "party. Every two years. For as long as it takes to get public financing of campaigns and no personhood for corporations. Only then can we have an impact again and have real representatives. .