Return of the Plouffe
Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe is reportedly being brought in to get the party into fighting shape for the 2010 midterms. He previewed his advice in Sunday's Washington Post, and it seems pretty sound. For instance:
Pass a meaningful health insurance reform package without delay. Americans' health and our nation's long-term fiscal health depend on it. I know that the short-term politics are bad. It's a good plan that's become a demonized caricature. But politically speaking, if we do not pass it, the GOP will continue attacking the plan as if we did anyway, and voters will have no ability to measure its upside. If we do pass it, dozens of protections and benefits take effect this year. Parents won't have to worry their children will be denied coverage just because they have a preexisting condition. Workers won't have to worry that their coverage will be dropped because they get sick. Seniors will feel relief from prescription costs. Only if the plan becomes law will the American people see that all the scary things Sarah Palin and others have predicted -- such as the so-called death panels -- were baseless. We own the bill and the health-care votes. We need to get some of the upside. (P.S.: Health care is a jobs creator.)
You'll notice that Plouffe doesn't spend a lot of time hedging that "this bill is not perfect, but it's better than nothing," or "this bill isn't Democrats' first choice, but it's still worth passing." Instead, he says it's a good plan that's been spun as a bad plan, and lists a lot of what it'll do to help families immediately. Democrats could take a lesson from that approach. It also relates to his final point, which is "no bed-wetting," but would be better phrased as "stop bed-wetting."
Right now, Democrats have a better agenda than Republicans. In fact, of the two parties, they're distinguished by virtue of actually having an agenda, which is the sort of thing voters generally want in tough economic times. But Democrats don't act like it. Instead, they're appalled by the compromises they've had to make to actually pass anything, while Republicans are enthusiastic because they haven't named a specific agenda (much less had to compromise on it to get 60 votes) and so everyone just assumes it'll be the one they want to see the party adopt.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau.
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