To whom it may concern at the White House and the DNC:
If you want to lose the House and possibly the Senate in November, if you want to increase the possibility of the 2 most dreaded words in the English language—President Palin—becoming a reality in 2012, keep the lack of a cohesive message coming. And keep on waiting for the GOP to get on board.
First have President Obama come out on a Thursday with a speech focusing on job creation—saying how we can’t afford to give the keys back to the Republicans because they’re the ones whose policies “gave us the economic crisis” and drove the economy into the ditch. This is called firing up the base for the upcoming mid-term elections. (BTW, mid-term elections are all about turning out the base, and in case you haven’t noticed the Republican base is ready to vote today).
Then have David Axelrod go on This Week on Sunday and say that “there is no great desire on Capitol Hill” for more spending to stimulate the economy and that “we’re hoping we can persuade enough people on the other side of the aisle to put politics aside and join us.” This makes your base throw up their hands (or just throw up) and say ‘For cryin’ out loud, somebody get a freakin’ clue. The Republicans don’t want anything that resembles economic growth, now or in the next 2 years. When are you guys gonna get it?’
Here are some steps you might want to consider and some advice you might want to listen to. First from Atrios:
“So let’s say Obama’s people have correctly deduced that there’s no chance in hell of getting anything through Congress. They have two basic options. First, they could get on the teevee every day and say, “This is my plan to help. Republicans in Congress won’t pass it.” They could hold rallies in Maine. Allies could run ads. At least people would know who is for and who is against…and just what it was that people are for or against.”
Option two is back off proposals you’ve previously made and have Axelrod get on the teevee and say, “there is some argument for additional spending in the short-run to continue to generate economic activity.”
Paul Krugman adds:
“I have no idea what they’re thinking. It would be one thing if polls suggested a tolerable outcome in November, so that playing it safe could possibly make sense as a political strategy. But that’s not the way it is; and it’s hard to see what possible motivation there is for pulling punches.”
Steve Benen at Washington Monthly:
“My sense is that President Obama really hates — and actively avoids — picking fights he fully expects to lose…The defeat would leave him weaker, exacerbate intra-party tensions, and at the same time signal that the White House lacks confidence in the strength of the economic recovery.
But the current alternative is far worse, especially given the fact that the White House should lack confidence in the strength of the economic recovery. It makes a lot more sense to push an ambitious jobs bill — like, now — invite Republicans to do what they always do, give Democrats something to fight for, and have the debate.
Yes, Republicans will block any measure intended to improve the economy, and it’s largely too late for a new stimulus effort to boost the economy before November. But it’s still worth having the fight — force the GOP to stand in the way of job creation, and show the public that Democrats are prepared to fight to improve on an unsatisfactory status quo.”
To sum up, you’re quickly approaching (if not already at) ‘nothing to lose’ stage. In sports terminology, this is not the time for basketball’s 4-corner offense or football’s prevent defense. (Long-time Houston fans can tell you how both of those work out, and it ain’t good. See UH–NC State and Oilers vs. Buffalo Bills). For those who don’t follow sports, let’s go with “faint heart never won fair maiden.” And faint heart never kicked the shit out of an obstructionist Republican either. It’s time to go bold and force the other team to re-act to you, not you to them.
Just my $0.02.