August 10, 2010

The thing I find most frustrating about our party is the reluctance (or inability?) to inspire and lead. After the last eight years, is it really that impossible to sell the case for a Democratic Congress? They're always so damned defensive, and it comes across as weakness -- which is what turns so many people off.

Yes, I know some districts are more difficult than others, but they're not all like that:

As Democrats fan out across the country to campaign for reelection this month, many are surprisingly quiet about their hard-won accomplishments — the major bills they have passed under President Obama.

In an effort coordinated with the White House, congressional leaders are urging Democrats to focus less on bragging about what they have done — a landmark healthcare law, a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulation and other far-reaching policy changes — and more on efforts to fix the economy and on the perils of Republican control of Congress.

One year after many town hall meetings were upended by raucous anti-government protesters, congressional Democrats are trying to ensure that this summer's debate sheds a more flattering light on their party as they navigate a bruising midterm election campaign.
To bulk up their record on job creation, Democratic leaders have gone to great lengths — even calling House members back from recess for a special session Tuesday — to pass a $26-billion bill to avert public employee layoffs.

And in an effort to turn attention to their opponents, Democrats from Obama on down have taken to warning that giving Republicans control of Congress would be akin to reelecting George W. Bush.

"The question for 2010 is: Whose side are you on?" Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said to reporters Thursday. He spoke after a closed meeting with Democratic senators, where palm cards itemizing contrasts between the parties were distributed for lawmakers to carry around during the recess.

"Democrats moving us forward, while Republicans take us back," the card says.

Obama has been reading from the same playbook, comparing Republicans to bad drivers who want to retrieve keys to a car they had driven into a ditch.

"When you get in your car, when you go forward, what do you do? You put it in 'D,' " Obama said last week at a Democratic National Committee event in Atlanta. "When you want to go back, what do you? You put it in 'R.' "

Republicans see those attacks as an effort to divert attention from the weak economy.

If the Democrats can't figure out a way put the blame for this recession on the Bush policies that caused it, they're just not trying. Or maybe they're so used to feeling defensive, they don't know any other way to be.

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