Until They Define Diffferences With The GOP, Democrats Won't Benefit From Bush Mistakes
(Thanks to the Pew Center for the graphic)
If you want to see a reason why Democratic leaders need to get out more and reach out across the country and across demographic groups to educate them on basic Democratic principles, I point you to a new poll. The latest Pew Center poll out late yesterday shows that support for Bush’s private accounts proposal is slipping again, this time amongst the younger workers who were considered most likely to support it. The findings show that the more younger workers learn of the ups and downs of private accounts, the more they oppose them. So congressional Democrats can do some good by going out to their home communities and educating their constituents, both young and old, about the plusses and minuses behind private accounts and they will find receptive audiences at all age levels.
Second, the same poll found that while Bush’s approval rating in this poll is down to 45% in this poll, and also found that the approval rating of Republican leaders of Congress is down to 39%. But the same poll also found that Democrats have yet to benefit from the GOP’s troubles, as the public’s approval rating of Democratic congressional leaders is even less at 37%. It should be noted that some of this may be from unfamiliarity with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, stemming from the silent treatment they get from Fox News. But some of it also may very well be as a result of respondents not yet seeing any difference between the two parties or sensing that the Democrats aren't offering any real and attractive alternative to the Bush and GOP cabal. The bankruptcy vote looms larger in light of this.
The idea of a basic set of principles for Democrats to tout endlessly between now and November 2006 gains more traction after seeing polls like this. Instead of constantly reacting to the latest Bush outrage and hoping to profit from the GOP mistakes as if those opportunities fall somehow from the sky, Democrats need to have an easily understandable list of no more than 6-8 priorities they can tell voters they could expect from a Democratic congress in 2007. For example, instead of an oil company corporate welfare giveaway like ANWR, Democrats would push an accelerated drive towards alternate energy sources and supplies, as well as reducing our consumption.
Instead of inaction and false choices on health care like the tort reform smokescreen, Democrats would push an expansion of health care availability and Medicaid through a mix of tax breaks, purchasing pools, and individual tax credits. Instead of more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, Democrats would push for an end to corporate welfare, individual tax shelters, and offshore tax havens. Democrats could push for a real EPA interested in protecting the health and safety of our families and the unborn, and not an agency that is nothing but a corporate front for those they regulate. Democrats could even push for reinstituting the family viewing hour on TV and reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. And they could run on a "Clean Congress" platform, aiming squarely at Tom DeLay.
The point is that Democrats need to identify how they are different than the GOP status quo, and how things would look different in 2007 with a Democratic House and Senate. And they need to do that in a simple list of priorities that would tell voters what to expect by throwing out Tom DeLay, Denny Hastert, and waiving goodbye to Bill Frist.