The new White House strategy is to show how Republicans are the party of no, by showcasing their answers and comments on poll-friendly issues.
This is not going to work. They may feel good, making republicans look bad, but the main strategy that this tactic is based upon is a loser.
The American people are justifiably furious that they gave their trust to Obama and the congressional democrats and that confidence was betrayed. Obama and Reid in particular failed to keep promises, failed to wield the power they were entrusted to make real change happen.
Now, Obama and company want to set up scenarios where they can more clearly document the excuses.
The American people don't want better excuses. They want results. They want competent, effective leadership that makes things happen.
I ran a poll, primarily among progressives, asking how they felt about Obama's efforts to reform healthcare.
Are You Happy With Obama's Health Care Efforts?
Six percent were happy with Obama's efforts. Five percent didn't want him tampering with their health care (the teapartyer position) and 89% said Obama had not done enough. So, when you read those polls saying people are not happy with Obama's health care efforts, don't assume that they don't want him doing anything. Assume that a lot of people are angry that he has not done enough.
Sure the Republicans are being oppositional. That's their strategy. They determined that the gains for the strategy were greater than the liability.
The American people are really disgusted. Less and less Obama supporters are hanging in there, trusting Obama and congress to deliver. More and more are concluding that the Democrats have failed to do the job they were elected to do. Independents are leaning Republican. Democrats are leaning on the arms of their sofas and they're not going to get out and vote, let alone, expend energy campaigning for incumbents they are disappointed with.
There's a solution. It's not pretty. It carries some risk. But continuing with the "show how bad the Republicans are" strategy will not work. It is dooming the Democratic party to disaster in 2010 and 2012.
The solution is something a lot of people, like Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders, are saying-- the Democrats and Obama need to get a spine. They need to get very tough with Republicans.
First, the architects of the "show how bad the Republicans are" strategy should be immediately fired and replaced with real, tough leaders. That probably means dumping a load of former Clinton staffers-- DLCers who have leaned right, and tried to move the Democratic party to the right.
Next, develop a strategy that gets things done. Some of my progressive colleagues will disagree, but I say use interim appointments to fill empty posts-- scores of them. And empty more posts. Clear out ALL the lingering Bush/Rove political appointees still holding jobs-- every one of them. Then use interim appointments, since GOP senators are blocking normal appointments. Show the American people you're not going to be stopped by GOP strategies. Show that Democrats are smarter, better, more effective leaders that get things done. This will be a novel concept, considering that currently, even if some things have been accomplished, the narrative is telling a story of failure. When this interim appointment strategy is acted on, have in place plans to minimize and neutralize attacks that the GOP will surely initiate. Don't try to convince hard-core right wingers. Aim at convincing independents, where there's some hope of reaching them.
Next, use reconciliation, which requires 50 votes plus Biden to pass a slew of bills. Break a record for using reconciliation. If Harry Reid doesn't want to use reconciliation, replace him. Matter of fact, remove all senators who won't be back next year from leadership positions-- Dodd in particular. Put in people who need to keep their jobs.
Start installing in legislation that involves funding wording so that states where both senators don't support the bill don't get the funding.
Now, reconciliation is only used for funding bills. That's okay. Take the reform issues that are most urgent-- equal treatment for women, ending pre-existing conditions and recision policies-- and pass them the old fashioned way. There are Republicans who have always been willing to vote for them. Those issues will fly through.