by Deacon Blues
Democrats will have to endure weeks and months of chest-bumping from GOP officeholders over the next several months, and the media is already flooded with stories about how the re-energized Republican leadership is claiming yesterday was an affirmation of the electorate's demand for GOP leadership and the Republican agenda.
Really? What exactly is that GOP agenda? Can the same media which is dutifully doing stenography on these GOP stories tell us what that agenda is, or at least demand that these GOP celebrants tell them and the rest of us what this magical agenda is, which apparently has been kept a secret from all of us these last four obstructionist years?
Remember this: Whenever congressional Democrats are threatened with demands for passage of whatever this agenda is over the coming months, the following questions must be asked by Democrats, and the media, and the GOP must be forced to answer these questions:
1. How does this help the middle class?
2. How does this help consumers?
3. How does this help seniors?
4. How does this help students and younger Americans?
5. How does this help people of color?
6. How does this specifically create jobs?
7. Who benefits more from this, the Top 1 % or the rest of us, and how?
Until the GOP can answer these questions and prove their case, Democrats should hold out and avoid any capitulation, or any deals.
Which leads me to another concern: How eager will Obama be to cut deals to protect a legacy, even if it means doing something terrible to trade off cuts in corporate taxes for an increase in the minimum wage, or a grand bargain like Simpson-Bowles II that cuts entitlements under the guise of fiscal responsibility while cutting tax rates for the 1%? Since the man cannot negotiate to save his life, and since his staff have proven their worthlessness, we should all be very afraid over the next two years.
Lastly, as some have commented on already, there will be the usual amount of Democratic finger-pointing and second-guessing going on. Whatever the outcome, Democrats need to accept some hard truths and bake those into their future grand strategies:
1. Appealing to midterm voters requires a whole different focus than a presidential election;
2. Social issues that work in presidential elections need to be shrunk down to economic and security issues in the midterms;
3. Likewise, for better or worse, your candidates and their messages need to reflect that more limited landscape;
4. Barack Obama was going to be a loadstone no matter what, which required that
5. Democratic candidates run on the achievements of Democratic policies and not the man himself.
I know some of that sounds harsh, but until Democrats get religion and adjust accordingly, this will keep happening in the midterms.