There was a great piece in the New York Times today discussing why the Democratic party is unable to gain support from the middle class, even though history shows that when the Democrats are in control the middle class does better.
The premise is that Republicans are against ‘big government’ (or .. put another way.. “government”) therefore the Democrats must be for government and that today, more than ever, people feel estranged from government and therefore, find it hard to side with the party that is ‘for’ government.
This really struck a chord with me – it seems spot on. And, it seems to explain what’s going on in Washington today. The Republicans, ever the strategists, know that they want ‘smaller’ government and know the best way to achieve this is to get the rest of the country to become disgusted with government. How can one do that? How about sabotage the ability for the government to get anything done.
Once again, it just seems, honestly, brilliant. As always, the Republicans are driving the conversation and the Democrats are left on their heels trying to defend what becomes an indefensible position – that Government can work (while we all sit and watch the (albeit Republican generated) stagnation in Washington).
The Dem’s approach is to show that the Republicans are the bad guys, unable to compromise and unwilling to solve the problem. It will be interesting to see (next fall) whether this approach will work. Will the electorate remember who was responsible for the quagmire? Or will they just walk away with a stronger sense that indeed, Government doesn’t work and I guess those Republicans were right all along, and that I’d be better off with my own money in my pocket rather than in the public coffers.
It’s hard to imagine the Dem’s message will survive the next year of campaigning while the Republican’s is so much easier to see.