The Democracy Corps memo
by tarheel74, Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:56:38 PM EDT
Stan Greenberg and James Carville have recently made a memo public, in which they state that the President's message has been weak and not resonating enough with the public to affect voter turn-out for an embattled Democratic Party. They outlined three messages:
We have to change Washington. That means eliminating the special deals and tax breaks won by corporate lobbyists for the oil companies and Wall Street. (REPUBLICAN HOUSE CANDIDATE) has pledged to protect the tax cuts for the top two per- cent and the big tax breaks for companies who export American jobs. I'll take a different approach with new middle class tax cuts to help small businesses and new American industries create jobs. Let's make our country work for the middle class.
My passion is "made in America," working to support small businesses, American companies and new American industries. (REPUBLICAN HOUSE CANDIDATE) has pledged to support the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea and protect the loophole for companies outsourcing American jobs. I have a different approach to give tax breaks for small businesses that hire workers and give tax subsidies for companies that create jobs right here in America.
(REPUBLICAN HOUSE CANDIDATE) has pledged to make sweeping cuts, including cuts to off-limit programs for the middle class, like Social Security and Medicare. The Republicans plan to privatize Social Security by shifting those savings to the stock market, and ending guaranteed benefit levels. Medicare as we know it will end, as seniors will have to purchase private insurance using a voucher that will cover some of the costs.
However there are significant problems for implementing these messages.
Take the first message for instance. The weakness of this administration lies in the fact that they did not force the Republicans to go on the record and filibuster a middle-class tax cut vote. This led to one of the most bizarre news conferences I have seen in my life where for once Robert Gibbs was made to look like the idiot that he is. I post some of the transcript below, but the whole thing can be read (and watched) at Mediaite.
Q David Axelrod said something that the President has been saying for a long time, which is that Republicans are holding the middle-class tax cuts hostage. As I understand it, Democrats haven’t introduced a bill in the Senate and the Republicans have. Wouldn’t there have to be a bill that Republicans are threatening to block or blocking before anything is being held hostage?
MR. GIBBS: I don’t know what bills have been introduced in the Senate. Obviously, I think the posture of — I don’t think the bill would have to be the existence of — I think the rhetoric alone from Senator McConnell and others have been that the price of — there’s a $700 billion price tag on moving forward on the tax cuts for the middle class. That’s the tax cuts for the wealthy.
Q So the posture is enough, it doesn’t have to be actual –
MR. GIBBS: Absolutely. And look — we’ve — I said this — it’s now been a couple of weeks, obviously, but we agree on the middle-class part of this or so they say. Their price tag for the middle class was the $700 billion. We could have passed the middle class alone, provided some much needed certainty to the economy and to middle-class families and had — still had plenty of time to debate the $700 billion price tag for the other cuts.
Q Why not do that? Why not introduce the bill –
Q Why not get Republicans on the record?
Q — and force Republicans to filibuster it?
MR. GIBBS: They were unwilling to do that. They were unwilling to –
Q But you can introduce a bill is the point. You can introduce the bill.
MR. GIBBS: Guys, my original answer was I don’t think the bill is the existence of the fight. It is that — look, John Boehner said –
Q You’re not even — you’re not even fighting with them.
Q — let’s get on the record. Why not get on the record?
MR. GIBBS: There was — we can’t — Chip, look at the statements from the Senate Republicans. This wasn’t going anywhere. They had decided to stop middle-class tax cuts.
Q Neither was cap and trade, but you pushed for the House to get on the record on it.
Q So all they need to do is issue a press release and you guys will back off any fight?
So there goes message number one. Without forcing the Republicans to show their hand, they can conflate tax cuts into one issue. They are for all tax cuts, not just middle class ones and once again due to the thorough incompetence of this administration the Democrats are back to playing defense.
The fun is in message three, which shows that people are against cuts to social security and medicare. Unfortunately, I am yet to hear any administration official unequivocally oppose any cuts to these two programs. Why? Because of something called the "Deficit Commission" that will eventually lead to recommendation to cuts in social security or increase the retirement age. Fortunately we have a progressive house leader in Nancy Pelosi who is willing to derail the commission's report if it indeed makes these recommendations during the lame-duck session.
Unfortunately for us, we got a strong progressive house leader, right about the same time we got the most spineless Senate majority leader and a President who is willing to deal away the centerpiece of his healthcare legislation behind closed doors, in the misguided effort to win over AHIP, all the while he was misleading his supporters. I would have very content to watch Harry Reid lose this election and just go away forever, had it not been for Sharon Angle. But the way it is going right now, not only will we see a Republican Congress but maybe even a Republican Senate with <gulp> Sharon Angle as the junior senator from Nevada, and for that Sen. Reid can thank his own spinelessness.