Tags: Democrats | Chart | Dim | Midterm | Course

Democrats Chart Dim Midterm Course

Wednesday, 13 Jan 2010 09:26 AM

By S.A. Miller

Facing a disgruntled electorate and bracing for losses in the November midterm elections, Democrats hope to make up ground by framing this year's campaign as a fight against Republicans who want to turn back the clock on progress.

Democratic strategists say the party's candidates should tout legislative victories, especially if Congress enacts health care reform in the coming weeks, and draw a stark contrast with a Republican desire to return to the era of President George W. Bush.

The game plan is designed to prevent the election from becoming a referendum on the party in power, which is almost always a losing bet during tough economic times. Democrats must convince voters that the health care overhaul will be beneficial and that President Obama's $787 billion stimulus program has worked before they can criticize Republicans for opposing the measures.

"Republicans will be on the ballot next November, not just Democrats. Voters will be choosing between two different records and two different paths," said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). "Our strategy is to ensure that voters make a choice when they enter the polling booth."

The strategy is in play in the Massachusetts special election to replace Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the long-serving Democrat who died in August. The first attack ad of the campaign, produced for Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley, blasted Republican Scott Brown for being "in lock step with Washington Republicans."

Ms. Coakley faces a tougher-than-expected contest Tuesday in the solidly blue state. Her ad flashes images of Mr. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and top Bush adviser Karl Rove, while warning that Mr. Brown favors tax cuts for the rich.

Polls show sinking approval ratings for Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats, but have not found a corresponding rise for Republicans.

The DSCC's Mr. Schultz said Republicans still suffer from a "battered brand."

"They presided in Washington as the economy collapsed, and health care costs skyrocketed and did nothing to address either. And with Democrats working hard to address all of the challenges facing the country, they have made it clear they want to reverse course and go backwards," he said. "We don't expect that to be a winning argument with voters."

Republican officials said that strategy ignores voters' dissatisfaction with the policies of the White House and the Democrat-led Congress. They cite polls showing a majority of Americans are skeptical of the health care legislation and disapprove of Mr. Obama's leadership on the issue.

A CBS News poll showed that the 54 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Mr. Obama is handling health care, with 36 percent approving and 10 percent unsure. The same poll showed that 82 percent of Americans think the economy is bad, up from 77 percent in December.

"This is a desperate political strategy from a party that has yet to come to grips with reality," said Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Try as they might to distract from their own failures, Democrats will ultimately be held responsible for passing a radical agenda that has ignored the concerns of American families every step of the way."

White House senior political adviser David Axelrod, in a lengthy recent interview with the magazine National Journal, said Democrats have to hope that the economy rebounds by the fall. He said Congress should quickly pass another stimulus or "jobs bill" to boost spending on infrastructure projects and aid to cash-strapped states.

But he said Democratic candidates should focus on progress during Mr. Obama's first year in office, including laws that crack down on tobacco and credit card companies.

If Republicans "want to stand with the insurance industry on health care and protect the status quo, then let them defend that in an election," Mr. Axelrod told the magazine. "If they want to stand with the banks and the financial industries and protect the status quo, then let them explain that in an election."

In the interview, he invited Republicans to campaign on their record of fiscal integrity, as a budget surplus turned into a $1.3 trillion deficit under the Bush administration, when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House.

"We're certainly willing to have that discussion. The difference is that we'll have that discussion in the context of a campaign," he said. "We haven't — in the midst of a crisis — tried to campaign every day in the halls of Congress."

© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Wash Times: Senate GOP Requests Obama's Emails in IRS Inquiry

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 08:48 AM

A group of Senate Republicans have called on President Barack Obama to turn over all communications that he and his aide . . .

Obama to Democrats: Time to Fight for Middle Class, Party Message

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 07:42 AM

At the annual Democratic retreat in Philadelphia this year, President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to keep up the fight  . . .

Romney to Update Supporters on Potential 2016 Run

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 07:18 AM

Republican Mitt Romney is to give an update to his supporters on Friday on whether he should run for president a third t . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved