One of our objectives at The Winning Words Project is to help our elected officials, including (and especially!) the president, articulate the Progressive story so that it:
- Resonates with a wide audience, including Independents and those who fall in the middle of the political spectrum.
- Cuts the Republican smears off at the knees.
- Gives our policies the moral argument that's needed for their acceptance.
- Establishes our own frames without repeating Right Wing frames (which only reinforces them, even when used in debunking them).
With those criteria in mind, the following narrative is how we would advise President Obama to address the absurd heckling coming from Mitt Romney, Republican Party leaders, and the Right Wing press with regard to the state of Private Sector jobs in today's economy. Needless to say, David Axelrod does it all wrong in the above video (which is downright painful to watch):
"I said the Private Sector was doing 'fine' and Mitt Romney and Republicans ridiculed it ... and made themselves look ridiculous in the process."
"There are more Private Sector jobs today than there were the day I was elected president. In fact, corporate profits have been at or above pre-recession levels since the beginning of 2010.
"And in the meantime, Republican governors across the country have been laying off millions and millions of our nation's most valuable human resources: teachers, firefighters, police officers, maintenance workers, and construction crews among many others. This is why, even with more Private Sector jobs today than when I took office, our nation's unemployment rate is at a shameful 8.2 percent.
"Those Republican governors will tell you that they had no choice but to fire those public employees because they were trying to fix their states' budgets. What they won't talk about is the fact that they had a chance to help their budgets get under control without having to sacrifice all those jobs, by accepting an infusion from the federal government to tide them over while the private sector was shedding jobs by the millions and diminishing their revenue base. ... And many of them turned it down while House Republicans fought tooth and nail to make it so small it wouldn't have had any impact at all.
"It is the moral and constitutional responsibility of the federal government to help ensure the fiscal soundness of the entire country. And in times of fiscal crisis the entire nation should come together to help every struggling state get their feet back on the ground. What was irresponsible and imprudent was for those states in need to push away that helping hand at the cost of millions and millions of jobs for the American people when those jobs could have been saved.
"There is no question that the Private Sector needs to grow a lot more and a lot faster. And it has the ability to do just that without an ounce of government intervention ... if it would open up its bank vaults and start hiring more workers. Private Sector businesses are holding onto $1.9 trillion dollars in bank accounts instead of using it to pay their workers a living wage so they can afford to buy more things, creating more demand and by extension, creating a real need to hire more workers.
"Democrats have successfully led this country out of a near Depression in spite of Republican obstructionism at every turn. We did that in part by saving the American Auto Industry that Mitt Romney said he would have let go bankrupt. At the same time, Republicans have decimated Public Sector jobs, and instead of helping enact common sense legislation that will ensure more jobs for the unemployed, they're busy making things up to rile up their base.
"Instead of wasting taxpayers' time ridiculing the truth, I'm calling upon the Republicans in Congress to get to work and pass my Jobs Bill and provide aid to still-struggling states so the Public Sector can start recovering just like the Private Sector has and we can finally start raising employment levels back up to where they belong.
DON'T respond as David Axelrod did when you are confronted with the question about whether President Obama was right when he said the Private Sector was "doing fine." When you are talking to your friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers; or when you're embroiled in a debate on the Internet, this is the story you should be telling.
- Democrats saved the Private Sector when it was collapsing and it has returned to—and exceeded—2008 levels of employment.
- Republicans have been true to their word and are drowning Public Sector workers in the bathtub of their policies at the expense of our overall economic and job recovery.
- The country cannot enjoy a robust economy if the predominance of the nation's wealth is being hoarded in bank accounts by the Private Sector and not put back into circulation into the economy that allowed them to make it.
- Corporations have no patriotic incentive to use their profits to put Americans to work.
- Only Public Sector hiring can return a troubled economy back to full stability, as it has always historically done.
This post originally appeared at The Winning Words Project. Please visit to find more tips on framing the Democratic and Progressive message for winning electons in 2012 and beyond. And please help us by repeatedly hammering Axelrod, Plouffe, et al that they need to start telling our story the right way and stop dodging President Obama's economic accomplishments!