Democrats announced late yesterday that David Plouffe would rejoin the leadership team and quarterback the upcoming fall Democratic election strategies. Plouffe, along with David Axelrod were the principle thinkers behind President Obama’s successful Presidential candidacy. But can he help him now?
Unbelievably in about 1 year large parts of American voters now think the country is going in the wrong direction. They blame Democrats and their solution seems to be the election of Republicans this fall. What are these people thinking (or smoking)?
In the fall of 2008, these same voters thought the Republican Administration was going in the wrong direction and turned to Barack Obama for “change”. Now 13 months later, it is as if it never was. What can account for this?
To be sure, one reason is that the necessary “narrative” has been missing. President Obama has chosen not to level with the American public and tell it as it is. He has wasted too much time trying to go “partisan” only to find there was nothing in it for Republicans so they stiffed him.
I think he also seriously underestimated the American intelligence. President Obama has not flat out told Americans how things really are.
1. Americans are worried about the economy and specifically how a weak economy affects them. They are worried that they may not find work if currently unemployed, they are worried they might lose their job if employed, and if employed and in a service industry, they are worried tips, commissions, and general business level will yield less income for them. It’s all about me.
2. Americans can see straight through the double speak politics as usual. They suspect that all Congressmen are under the grips of special interests and because of this, have little time to worry about their concerns.
3. The 24/7 TV and radio talk shows have spread misinformation far and wide (even though they have profited very well). They have convinced too many Americans that solutions are simple and painless. Simply stop spending and lower taxes says Fox News. MSNBC calls for health care reform and another jobs stimulus. Both of these messages are a disservice unless further clarified and put in context.
4. Republicans decry the projected $10 trillion increase in the national debt projected by the CBO. They say this is proof that the Democrats have put America on the wrong path and therefore Democrats can not be trusted to run any other part of Government. The 24/7 media has been silent when they know the $10 trillion is mostly the result of laws already on the books when Obama took office.
5. Americans must hear time and again that current US law, law that was on the books through the entire Bush Administration, coupled with the Bush tax cuts are projected to account for $8 of the $10 trillion. They must hear that there was no effort fix health care costs during the 8 Bush years and health care costs are the largest piece of the $ 8 trillion.
6. Americans must hear also that they can not ask their Government to fix the economy and also fix the deficit at the same time. Of course, Americans can demand that the Government stop spending and let the chips fall where they might. The social impact will be wide spread with all sorts of programs from Medicare to pre-school food subsidies seeing less funding. The ramification cannot be known for certain, but you can probably imagine “Grandma” in the next election on TV crying about her loss of drugs and hospital coverage.
7. Americans also need to hear that as the Federal Government cuts programs, States and communities will be left to pick up the tab. Inevitably, this will lead to great inequality between States and the prospect of rich States and poor States. This is hardly the picture of a great America but rather one of a collection of disparate States. That is a picture of the beginning of the end.
7. Plouffe needs to get President Obama (and hopefully other Congressional Democrats to see that trying to out bullshit the “say no” Republicans leads to no place. Tell America what it really is. Explain the projected debt. Take responsibility for the $2 trillion the Obama Administration added. Tell Americans why it was added and why that is necessary and in Americans’ best interest. Tell Americans that raising taxes is a last resort but mathematically there is no way to shrink the deficit without returning to tax rates of the Clinton years (which were the lowest in modern times, lower that Nixon or Reagan years).
I wonder whether this will happen? If so, voters will have a real choice.