Monday, July 10, 2006

Democrats Still Don't Have a Message

Richard Reeves' latest article offers some advice to Democrats: Don't focus on Iraq. Instead, focus on "local issues and the overall national governance of Republicans these last six years."

This is sage advice. Consider this context: I've seen some (presumably) Democrat bumper stickers popping up recently. What do they say? They say "Fed up; Throw 'em out."

That's a loser's slogan. It's the same mistake Al Gore made, but in reverse. It was Gore's election to lose in 2000, and that's exactly what he did. His first TV campaign commercials in 1999 focused on some little known clause in a medical act relating to seniors.

Focusing on seniors is great, but save the heavy details for after the victory.

In other words, Gore was way too specific. He should have been talking about SENIORS as a group, not about verbiage. The bumper stickers I mentinon above fail in the other direction. Instead of conjuring a specific image to mind, it just adopts the blind slogan "throw the bums out." Weakness.

In addition to seniors, Gore should also have been talking about JOBS and EDUCATION. There's nothing mysterious about the Democratic platform from where I come from, but it seems the current Democratic leadership is at a loss for such a focus. The party truly is adrift in this aspect.

So, it looks like the Democrats, despite some fairly huge blunders by the Republicans since 2000 (many of which equal and evidently surpass the exploits of the Clinton administration), still do not have a coherent message. None that I've heard, anyway.

Too bad Al Gore put the kiss of death on Howard Dean when he said that he was backing Dean before Dean had even won the Democratic primary. Dean has balls and focus. Now he needs to learn subtlety and diplomacy. He's the last, best hope, as far as I can tell.

As for Gore, he's as brilliant as he is bone-headed. They says his new movei on global warming is something to see. I hope he stays focused on the environment. He seems happy in that world.

As for the PA Senate race, there's Bob Casey, Jr. I watched him at a press conference outside his office in Harrisburg. He held it in such a way as to allow people with Santorum signs to stand directly behind him. It was ridiculous. He should have taken the event into a more controlled environment (he needs to follow the Republicans on this kind of thing).

Bad mistake, right? Okay, we'll forgive that one. But the remainder of the conference from that point consisted of Casey attacking Santorum in a kind of mealy-mouth way. In other words, I was not impressed with Casey. He didn't offer much of anything that he would do...even the boiler-plate stuff (have I mentioned jobs, the deficit, education, seniors, and homeland security?).

What the hell is going on? Doesn't he have any contact with Daddy anymore? Say what you will about the old man, he was a hell of a fighter. I don't see it yet in the son.

Interestingly, Lynn Swann makes a pretty solid candidate for PA governor. And I don't care about the football thing. Swann has been talking about issues in a way that is less microscopic than Gore and more competent and charismatic than Casey. I doubt that Swann will unseat Eddie Rendell, because, as I understand it, the people of Philadelphia can elect anyone they want as governor of this state because they have the population. How about that? So, it looks like at least the PA governorship will remain in Democratic hands.

So, in closing, the Dems will take back some power this fall, but they will not be freed from their Republican masters for many more years. To change this, they need to go back to the basic Democratic issues. They should also focus on border security and start talking about the heroes along the borders of America. That would score them some points on patriotism.

Okay. I'm out.



Anonymous said...

I always chuckle when I hear the Democrats talk about Iraq. The advice, just leave now! What happens once we leave Iraq? Oops! Hadn't thought of that! I guess we have no choice but to stay! Yea, Helluva strategy dems! I think the Republicans should do ok in the midterms. Can't wait to hear the Lib Media spin this one!

Anonymous said...

There is a blogger on erie blogs name "Bobbo." "Bobbo" hates all things Republican, George W AND the United States of America. I have never heard such hatred towards anyone in my entire life! This Bobbo is one sick person

Ralph said...

Yes, what has happened to the party of Aaron Burr? I think a lot of the Democratic dissolution has to do with it's loss of union support. Union guys generally knew how to take orders from the top and stick together. Republicans, of course, understand the power of this type of strategy very well, which is why they are so afraid of unions. Yes, the blue collar working man has historically been the strength of the Democratic Party, but as the aspect of our society has waned in recent years, the Democratic Party has lost its muscle. Now it's a bunch of "mealy-mouthed" chiefs with no Indians to boss around. (Boy, I love the term mealy-mouthed when describing democratic leadership. Reeves and Dr. Dee used it and I will as well. Also, as far as the Indian analogy goes, it is probably historically in correct, because Indians were really very autocratic and didn't take orders well, but in the context of the modern vernacular, I think it makes sense.)
Finally, I'm not sure, I'm down with Reeves advice to ignore the War thing. After all, if these Dems like Lieberman are actually in danger of losing because they support the war, I think coming out against that war would be a good strategy. I agree, however, that you need a solid exit strategy, which I have yet to hear.