The midterm elections will be a referendum on Obamacare, Republicans say, and Democratic attempts to push "fairness issues," such as extending unemployment payments, addressing equal pay, and raising the minimum wage are nothing more than political pandering.
Democrats have spent recent weeks fighting Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal,
fighting efforts by the Koch brothers, and championing other bills in hopes of reinventing itself as the "fair shot" party, The Washington Post
reports, while insisting that Republicans represent special interests.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, defending the budget bill, said the plan provides more accountability, while "Democrats here in Washington continue to play their usual politics, using their old playbook of pitting one group of Americans against another. And frankly, it’s pretty obvious that their efforts have failed."
But while Democrats have been attempting to sell their new messages in Washington — and divert attention away from the botched Obamacare rollout — some members of Congress, as they begin their two-week recess, are concerned that the message may not be as important to voters in their home districts.
"This election in Louisiana, for me, is not going to be won in Washington," said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, whose seat is considered one of the most vulnerable in this year's midterm elections. "My election is going to be run in Louisiana. . . . Washington is so focused on this inside-Beltway [game], and what our people are focused on is jobs and economic opportunity."
And while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has been waging a battle against the Koch brothers
and their millions of dollars worth of advertising against Democrats, Republicans have continued to fight vulnerable Democrats over Obamacare, saying that a legislative agenda introduced by Reid and other Democrats is aimed at voters, and is not a real attempt to govern.
"They’ve already conceded that their 'agenda' for the rest of the year was drafted by campaign staffers. It’s a stunning admission," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R- Ky., said last week during a floor speech, according to the Post. "It’s time they shelved the political games and worked with us to pass practical, bipartisan legislation for a change — legislation that can finally rescue the middle class from so many years of economic failure."
As for Reid's battle against the Kochs, some Democrats, such as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, say he has gone too far.
Further, other Democratic insiders say Reid's attempt will probably not attract Democratic voters, as the billionaire brothers' name recognition is not that high with voters.
"The Kochs are a dirty word, but it’s a dirty word to a pretty small and already pretty politicized group, and those people aren’t swing voters," Walt Auvil, a former county chairman for the Democratic Party in West Virginia told The Post. "I don’t think very many swing voters know who the Koch brothers are or care."
But even aside from the Koch fight, Democratic leaders like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer say that the wage issues will mobilize liberal voters.
"People want positive answers," Schumer said. "Republicans have blocked Barack Obama’s agenda since the days of the stimulus. People want answers for the future."
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