The 2012 Elections will be like nothing we have ever seen before.
There will be more money spent and more mud slung than ever before. As much as I like to think Obama will roll to victory because of the weak offering of candidates from the right and their horrible leadership and lack of care about the economy, I also have a feeling that this will be a fight. Either way, we must fight like we've never fought before. There's no such thing as over winning or working too hard in politics.
NEVER EVER act like you have an election in the bag! Fight to the grain! Those who really know politics know that anything can happen and it probably will.
Here are a few things I think democrats as a party need to do right away to not suffer another 2010 election.
1. The Economy: Education is Key, Messaging is Vital.
Let's face it, Obama's biggest hurdle will be the sluggish economy.
If you're like me, you know that while Obama is the President, conservative policies are still the structure of our economy and they are failing us miserably. And now that the GOP has the house, Obama's agenda has been halted, protecting most of the Bush policies that have never worked and aren't going to anytime soon.
I'm not worried about you. You and me know this. I'm not worried about most republicans either. If Obama ran into a burning building and saved their child, they would still call him a commie and claim that he indoctrinated the child with socialist propaganda. There is no point in wasting time with these people. They are not voting for Obama and nothing you will ever say will change that.
It's moderates, independents, and the non-political public that we should focus on.
These are the ones who will look at the economy, look at Obama as President, and come to the basic conclusion that this is his vision of America and that it's all his doing. Don't forget that republicans will be helping this along with their every fiber as well. They will downplay their control of the house and blame everything they have done on Obama. If you think they wont, you haven't been paying attention.
We must educate the public. We must relentlessly advertise the FACTS every chance we get. Of these facts, I feel the most important are...
- Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit (According to the CBO, who projected a 1.3 trillion deficit 2 weeks BEFORE Obama took office) and a collapsing economy that hit it's peak under Obama from George W. Bush.
- The Great Recession started in December of 2007. 1 year and 1 month BEFORE Barack Obama was sworn in as President.
- The Stimulus Bill prevented the economy from going into a depression (According to the CBO).
- The Stimulus Bill Created 3.5 million jobs (According to the CBO)
- The recession ended under President Obama in June of 2009.
- Health Care Reform lowers health care costs for all Americans
- Health Care Reform will reduce the deficit by $130 Billion (According to the CBO)
- Barack Obama saved the auto industry and saved over 1 million jobs in the industry.
- Cash for Clunkers was a roaring success, saved jobs.
- Obama's 1st budget REDUCED the deficit by $103.6 billion, 13%.
- Barack Obama only extended the deficit increasing Bush Tax Cuts for the Top 2% because the GOP vowed to block any attempts to extend unemployment insurance and screw millions of unemployed if the rich didn't get another tax cut. Obama is opposed to the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% but could not let millions of people go hungry and homeless.
- House Republicans took control in 2011 and have not created 0 jobs, have proposed 0 job creation bills, and have completely blocked Obama's entire agenda.
- President Obama is NOT to blame for high gas prices.
- Big business is making more profits than ever yet not hiring.
- President Obama has created more jobs in 1 year than President Bush did in 8 years.
These are stone-cold facts. This is what actually happened.
The problem is that facts are boring. We live in a country where the pundits, spin machines, and rhetoric speak louder and resonate stronger.
This is where messaging comes in. We can't just ramble off facts and blame Bush (No matter how much he really is at fault) and expect to win.
We need to wrap this all up in a pretty package and sell it to the American people.
A negative message blaming the right and blaming Bush will not work. (see 2010)
Our message needs to be that Obama has inherited a deficit and recession from Bush and while we are not out of the woods, we are better off than we were 4 years ago and we have the facts to back it up. And how Obama's policies have worked and would be working even better if republicans weren't obstructing everything he touches.
The official recession is over and ended under this President, but we are still in clean up mode after 8 years of failed republican policy. And this is why you should vote for Obama and the democrats, because we can continue our policies that are factually improving the economy once the republicans, who are slowing recovery, are out of the way.
This should be our message: Vote for us because our policies brought us out of recession while republican policies are sending us back into one. Because we have created jobs and the GOP have not.
Instead of always talking about how horrible the republicans are, we must more so talk about how good we are. It's not gloating if we have facts to back it up, and we do.
Think positive and sell your party. Tearing down the other team's building is useless if we don't have a strong one of our own. Then we have only reduced them instead of built ourselves up.
2. Don't Let the Public Forget What the Republicans Have Done and What They Support.
I know this may seem hypocritical after the first step saying we shouldn't constantly attack republicans without building Democrats up first.
However in the process of pointing out the difference between the two parties, it is mandatory that we define what they stand for and why it is different from what we stand for. This will require that we make republicans defend their records and live up to their own set of rules.
We have every right to bring up what the republicans have done since taking control of the House and letting the public decide for themselves.
Similar to the economy issue, we must educate the public on what the republicans support legislatively, not just what they say (Actions speak louder than words), and then paint them with that very brush. Make them the face of their policy.
To make it clearer, let's look at the legislative agenda Republicans. Here is what the republicans as a party have or have not done since taking control...
- Have not even proposed a serious jobs bill after winning the elections in 2010 with the promise of making creating jobs priority #1.
- Voted to turn medicare into a voucher program and raise costs for seniors by $6,000.
- Voted to repeal Health Care Reform which would add $230 billion to the deficit.
- Voted to redefine rape as a means to limit a woman's right to choose.
- Blocked a bill to end billions in taxpayer subsidies/welfare to big oil companies.
- Voted to defund NPR.
- Voted to defund Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest distributor of contraceptives and STD tests. Gets $0 in government funds for abortion).
- Voted to delay financial regulations after financial deregulation caused the great recession.
- Voted to cut VA healthcare for 1.3 million veterans.
- Voted to cut off food stamps to entire families if one member of that family strikes against an employer.
- GOP Governors passed Voter ID suppression bills to make it harder to vote and register new voters.
- GOP Governors passed bills to bust unions and weaken education.
- Blocked unemployment benefits for long-term unemployed.
- Blocked a bill to prevent child marriage.
- Proposed legislation to privatize Social Security.
- Voted to further cut taxes for the rich.
- Voted to cut nutrition assistance (WIC).
- Used taxpayer funds to uphold the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act which prevents gays from marrying.
- Voted to cut the federal workforce by10% (GOP jobs bills kill jobs, not create them)
- Proposed legislation to repeal Wall St. Reform and kill the Consumer Protection Agency.
- Threatened to cut funding for tornado victims if they didn't get to privatize medicare.
And I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but even so, that's a nasty record to have to run on and they are not even done yet. All we need to do is force them to run on it. Make them live up to it and stick by it or be added to the liar's club or flip-flop hall of fame. (Most GOP already members to both)
Now what does this record say about them?
To me, it says that they are minions of the corporate agenda, bought and sold, and that they are cutting the middle/working class to benefit the rich.
So to wrap this all up and message their horrible agenda without spouting off facts and sounding like college professors, we say what is obviously simple...
The Republican Party is the official party of Wall St. and the corporate agenda. They are not with the workers and common folk. They do not care about jobs or the deficit, their legislative record proves it. They are official elite spokesmen of Corporate America, not middle America.
Republicans have successfully created a party image that they are somehow the party of rural, middle America and Christianity. This is complete hogwash and we as democrats need to destroy this image with the truth. The republicans are out of touch rich elitists who sell to Main St. but work for Wall St.
And do notice that jobs are nowhere to be found on their agenda. They have put their "#1 priority" to the side to wage a culture and class war. They broke their #1 promise. Do not let them forget this. As much as they want to blame Obama for the economy, they have done nothing to help and have in fact made it worse.
They are hanging themselves with their own agenda without our help. But That doesn't mean we shouldn't help them. This is politics, don't be above kicking them while they're down. They'd do it to you in a New York minute, trust me.
So overall, we wrap them in their agenda. We take the narrative and expose them as what they are before they get a chance to set the narrative to what they want you to think they are.
The GOP is the party of Wall St. and Corporate America. They are not your father's party, they are your father's employer's CEO's party.
Marginalize them with their record.
3. The Only Thing That Will Stop Extreme Republicans is Strong Democrats
No matter how bad a republican idea is, no matter how many facts, no matter how low public approval is, republicans will stick by it to the bitter end. They will go down with the ship. They could care less what liberals think about them. Much of the time this can be suicide. On the other hand, look how many failed GOP policies are still in place.
The public likes fighters. They like leaders who stand by their convictions and swat the opposition away. There is a fine line between cockiness and confidence, but when struck right, the American people eat it up. (see FDR, Reagan)
For example, look at Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. He has a horrible, non-effective, deficit increasing plan to balance the budget which screws millions of workers. The people of Wisconsin hate it and it will most likely be his political demise. Now with that said, this law is sadly in effect. He Won.
Walker stood by this piece of crap bill through thick and thin, never backed down. This caused his base to stand right behind him. Even when a judge struck it down, they pushed it anyway.
Let's face it, modern democrats don't have balls like this anymore.
And that's the problem. I feel what Scott Walker did was wrong. What if democrats fought just as hard as Walker did and stood just as tough for causes that we all know are good?
What if we refused to take no for an answer and fought just as hard and ruthless as they do for corporations? I think the working class in this country deserves public servants who will fight that hard for them. Just imagine if we fought to the bone for the public option. I'll just say that if Republicans had the Presidency, Senate, and House and wanted a public option, they would have got it whether we liked it or not. There would not have been any hearings or negotiations. The word compromise is not in their vocabulary, and their base loves them for it.
I know, I know....
I shouldn't be preaching to you, but to the Democrats in congress, but that's just the thing...
If we want the Democrats to be stronger and fight harder, We must let them know that we will have their back if they do. It's not that most of them don't want the same things you do, it's that they are scared to make bold moves because the right-wing base is very vocal. We must be louder than them. We have to let the Democrats know that we have their back.
The fact is, the GOP are scared of their base. Look what happens if one of them so much as agrees with Obama on even one issue. They are painted as RINOs and face a primary challenge from the right faster than their head can spin. This is not the same for the left.
We need to make the Democrats have that same fear of caving on us. That if they cannot stand strong for us, we can easily find someone else who will. We are realists and understand that we cannot have everything we want, but we don't believe in going down without a fight at least. This does not mean becoming radical as a party or even moving farther to the left, this means we force our party to fight harder for our core principles.
If the Democrats don't have that wave of support behind them, they won't feel as pressured and will compromise/cave to please the other side that is screaming their door down while we're sitting around seeing what happens.
This is one of the things I blame the most for our failure to pass a public option.
The teaparty was out in full force against it. We did not come out in numbers to back up our man. Sometimes it appeared that it was Obama vs. the entire republican party. Where were we?
FDR was once giving a town hall when a woman rose up and asked him, "When are you going to give us social security?". FDR replied, "I'm not, you're going to have to make me do it". This is exactly what I'm talking about.
As Democrats, we are the party of heart. But to prosper, we are also going to need a spine.
And a big giant set of balls.
"They are unanimous in their hatred for me, and I welcome their hatred" - FDR to GOP and Wall St., 1936