At DNC meeting, lots of fear, few fresh ideas 

As MSNBC focused on the Tennessee Palin-fest in hopes of finding embarrassing material on the former Alaska govenor, the Democratic National Committee held a far more important meeting. This meeting, which was attended by the President of the United States, was maked by its somber tone, well captured in this piece from Politico:

Gone was the exultant mood of jubilation that party officials felt when they last gathered for President Barack Obama's Inauguration a year ago. In its place was a sense of palpable concern that the party is on the verge of suffering significant — if not crippling — losses...Raymond Buckley, the Democratic chairman in New Hampshire, brought up the party’s wipeout in 1994, when it lost both the House and Senate two years after President Clinton was elected....

How do Democrats right the ship? The first of the two options is to pray for a dramatic economic improvement in the next nine months. The second option: communicate better.

...“There’s a feeling that we have to better communicate what President Obama and the Democratic Congress are doing,” [said FDR's grandson, James Roosevelt], referring specifically to the economy and health care.

He added: “If you can’t make that case, Democrats lose.”

But if President Obama's 30-odd speeches so far on his health care bill haven't made the case, and polls show overwhelmingly that people aren't buying his message on the success of the stimulus, what then?

Given the inadequacy of their own ideas, at least as they expressed them in Politico's coverage, here are my two cents for the Dems: When you can't win the debate, change the subject.

Democrats have spent the last 12 months reminding Americans of why they were thrown out of power previously: their discredited left-wing economic ideas, their affinity for central planning (especially in health care), their complete obeisance to labor unions, their softness on terror suspects, etc. This is why Independents are breaking so hard toward the GOP in polls of nearly every state. In addition, their failure to enact their unpopular ideas has left their own base disheartened and depressed. If we're having the same political debate in nine months that we're having today, then I really do expect them to lose control of both houses of Congress.

If I were a Democrat, I'd try to turn the tables a bit by reminding people about the vices of the other side -- not by blaming the Republicans for what they did before, which is ineffective and appears to be a shirking of responsibility, but by bringing up an issue that will divide the Right and remind Independents of how ugly Republican politics can sometimes be. If they drop everything and push for immigration reform, it would make enemies between business owners and conservatives. It would divide conservative activists. (It might also have the effect of bringing out a key part of the Democratic base.) This strategy would culminate in late August, when Arizona Republicans go to the polls and choose between former Rep. J.D. Hayworth and Sen. John McCain.

This strategy carries with it much risk (what will the unemployed think?) but when things can't get too much worse, it's time to go for broke.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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