We Don’t Need A Message Campaign

The number one reason why the Democratic led Congress is at an embarrassingly low approval rating of 11%, more than Iraq, more than FISA, more than the SCHIP failure, it is simply this; they aren’t listening, and they aren’t paying attention.

And they are committing these flaws against the Republican party, a party, I must add, that despite being on the wrong side of the issues Americans care about the most, is STILL the party better equipped to play politics.

No single thing can make this glaring error more apparent than the damage control plan that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are intending to enact as a result of the catastrophically low polling numbers.  If you think it would be to rethink their congressional strategy on how to override vetoes, get legislation passed, and start getting things done according to the will of the majority of the American people, you would be so wrong I would be forced to wonder how you even got here.  Such naive thinking belongs only to people who maybe get their political information by watching the evening news once in a while.

If, on the other hand, you think they plan on pulling their numbers up by engaging in a political message offensive, congratulations, you’ve been keeping up with current events enough that you probably get sick every time you tune into C-SPAN.

House Democrats are launching a major message push this week in an attempt to reverse their sagging approval ratings as Congress tackles a heavy legislative docket before the end of the year.

Late last week, the top aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) called a mandatory meeting for top Democratic staff on Monday afternoon to announce “a major member-driven message campaign” the leadership aides hope to sustain through the end of the year.

This comes on the heels of a renewed drive by Pelosi herself this fall to tout Democratic achievements so far this year in the face of polling that indicates support is slipping for the new majority.

Pelosi’s Chief of Staff John Lawrence, Hoyer’s Chief of Staff Terry Lierman and Clyburn’s Chief of Staff Yelberton Watkins sent a joint e-mail late Friday afternoon asking all chiefs of staff, legislative directors, communications directors and press secretaries for both members and committees to meet at 1 p.m. Monday in the spacious Ways and Means hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building.

“We will discuss a major member-driven message campaign that the New Direction Congress will be carrying out in the coming weeks,” the aides wrote in an e-mail.

There will also be plenty of pizza.

Now, I’m typically a moderate kinda guy when it comes to politics, despite a subscribing to a more leftist ideology, so usually, I have a strong stomach for the kind of malingering that goes on in Congress.  I would be happy if Democrats were able to at the very least slow the Administration down a little, for instance, but that is not exactly what’s been happening.

No, contrary to the belief many voters had that the new Democratic congress would end the days of the rubber stamp (indeed, Nancy Pelosi promised us that the days of the rubber stamp congress were over) what we have actually been treated to was a shiny new rubber stamp congress, one whose only major difference is that it whines a little more frequently about being a rubber stamp.

This isn’t to say, of course, that no Democrats in congress have a spine, or seem to sell their souls out of sheer terror every time it comes to challenging the administration on something, but many, particularly the Democratic leadership, do.  And again, I’ve been even marginally tolerant of this in the past, but what makes things different now is that they are going belly up on issues that Americans WANT.  Americans WANT an SCHIP expansion, Americans WANT us out of Iraq, Americans DON’T WANT our civil liberties auctioned off to telecom companies.

If the Democratic leadership in Congress actually gave the go ahead on such issues, whipped the caucus into fighting tooth and nail and engaging in scorched earth politics on them, they would find themselves winning, and with a huge base ready to sing their praises.  But this is not what is going on.

As Brian Beutler points out, last week alone was an example in parliamentary procedure ineptitude, and good ol’ fashioned going belly up.

Further, Nancy Pelosi wants to focus on the accomplishments, but the obvious question would have to be, WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS?  Iraq is progressing unfettered by the voice of congressional dissent (though there are a brave few who seem to be in the early stages of doing something about it), FISA is currently worse than ever (again, Chris Dodd exemplifies the spirit of a Democrat with a backbone with his intent to filibuster the upcoming FISA vote.  But even here Harry Reid is attempting to block him), and in the House we couldn’t even come up with a handful of Republicans to hop the fence to override the Bush veto.

There was a single win, as far as I’m concerned, and that was on a modest increase in the minimum wage, one that was not even close to what is needed, and had to be snuck in on a defense appropriations bill.  They couldn’t even make a real fight out of it.

So stop with the message campaign, we don’t want to hear it.  Don’t try and tout how great the current Congress is because it fails at every opportunity for success.  Don’t try and sell to us what we know not to be true.  Instead, if you want to see your poll numbers go up, drop the shenanigans, give all the Sens of the Senate and House bills a rest, and GET SOMETHING DONE!

Then, maybe, you’ll see a little movement in the polls in your favor.

One Response to “We Don’t Need A Message Campaign”

  1. mick says:

    You know what I think but I’ll say it again for the cheap seats.

    The Democratic leadership is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The party is run and controlled by conservatives but the party’s base is lib/prog or at least genuinely centrist. The leadership will do what it has to do to serve that conservatiove agenda, including destroy the party if necessary.

    Like the GOP, they can’t be open about what they really intend to do or why they want to do it because if we knew those things we wouldn’t vote for them, so, like the GOP and for exactly the same reasons, they concentrate on pushing a “message” and giving us political theater to occupy our tiny, easily-distracted minds in lieu of substantive action. They’re hoping that we won’t notice they’re spitting on us, and they’re assuming it doesn’t matter if we do because we won’t vote Republican no matter how often they agree with Bush and give him what he wants.

    Can’t you just hear Al From now? “Where else are they gonna go?”

    Well, they’re about to find out.

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