Democrats Return To Their Districts To Educate Constituents On Bush's Social Security Lies
The Post has an excellent story this morning on how the congressional Democrats are learning from past mistakes and going back into their districts over the coming President’s Day weekend to hold town hall meetings. The purpose of these meetings? To set the record straight about Social Security.
This kind of coordinated, nationwide message building on Social Security is a welcome development, and a tip of the hat to George W. Bush and Karl Rove’s previous efforts to conduct nationwide tours to promote their agendas. The ongoing nationwide campaign is something that Democrats have only used in the past at crisis time, usually when it is too late to steer the outcome significantly in their direction. Watching Rove and Bush use this in the past in selling the Iraq war and the tax cuts, and then be able to convince large numbers of Americans of their arguments even when the factual basis for those arguments were suspect at best, has caused Democrats to reassess the benefits of engaging in ongoing nationwide campaigns of their own. And Social Security, as we have said repeatedly before, provides the perfect lift-off of this strategy for the Democrats. It not only allows Democrats to go home to their districts to reconnect with their constituents and interact with them, but it also sets the negatives on Bush’s benefit cut proposal district by district, before the Bush road show came come to town and lie their way to oblivion.
In fact, Democrats should use the next six months like this, having each member come home at least twice a month for the weekend (hopefully more), to do nothing but hold town hall meetings and media stops to talk up the truth about Social Security and the moral values demonstrated by Bush’s budget cuts. Such an effort, coupled with a Truth Squad campaign in each GOP district and following Bush around the country can turn the Social Security and budget fights to the Democrats’ advantage before a vote is cast, as well as make the GOP squeamish about their chances to hold onto significant seats in next year’s midterms.
Sure, the country will be blanketed with TV and radio spots in the coming months from business and Wall Street groups touting the wisdom of Bush’s Social Security benefit cuts, using a $200 million war chest. But if the Democrats know that it is coming, they can prepare their constituents for what they will see by reminding them of how big business, Wall Street, and others in Bush’s contributor base stand to gain by killing this senior safety net and pocketing the other goodies Bush is handing to them with his budget. A steady message of “private gain over public interest”, dispensed in the district and reinforced with other Truth Squad activities aimed at the media can make those millions in TV and radio commercials a colossal waste of money, and begin to demonize those that would support Bush.
A few charts and graphs showing how much money Corporate America and Wall Street have contributed to Bush and the GOP, and how much they have to gain from the destruction of the senior safety net and privatization of the program, coupled with another set of graphs showing how many jobs these companies have shipped overseas and the continuing tax breaks Bush and the GOP lavish upon them should have a great impact on the voters heading into the midterms next year.
Congrats to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, and the rest of the House Democratic leadership for taking this route. Let's hope that Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and the Senate Democrats return home to do the same thing over the coming months. And that means you too Joe Lieberman.