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Axelrod: Voters aren't (yet) buying our Bush message

As I noted below, polling data clearly reveals that voters have yet to buy the core Dem message that a vote for the GOP is a vote to return to Bush's economic policies.

Now this thesis is being confirmed by none other than White House senior adviser David Axelrod, who acknowledges to Sam Stein that Dems have failed to communicate this message adequately:

"Perhaps this is where we have been failing to communicate," said Axelrod. "[A] large number of people [don't] believe that a Republican Congress would go back to the policies of George W. Bush, even though their own leaders have said as much in public. Pete Sessions said we want to go back to the same exact agenda that was there before this president took office. So our job in the next eight weeks is to make sure that people understand that, that they understand the stakes."

To be fair, eight weeks is a long time, and it's very possible that voters will grow more receptive to this message once they begin focusing in earnest on the choice before them, and on its consequences. Commentators have decided in advance that the Dems' loss of the House is a foregone conclusion before voters have even begun to make up their minds.

Soon enough, we'll find out whether the problem right now is that voters are simply not yet focused enough on the Dem message that the GOP wants nothing more than a return to Bush's policies -- or whether the message itself is inherently flawed or ineffective.

(Via Ben Smith.)

By Greg Sargent  |  September 7, 2010; 11:57 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , economy  
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Comments

We will get the pro-rich economics of the Bush Era with the divisiveness--shutdowns, investigations, impeachment--of the Clinton years.

Can anyone seriously want this besides Newt Gingrich?

Posted by: Mimikatz | September 7, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

When Republicans have driven the Economy into the ditch, and left the working class passenger in a coma, and after Democrats have managed to pull the Economy out of the ditch, and have kept the working class from dying:

Who are you going to call?

HOPE BUSTERS, That's who.

Call in Mitch Kevorkian McConnell, and John Kevorkian Boehner now, to revive the patient they almost Euthanized.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "Call in Mitch Kevorkian McConnell, and John Kevorkian Boehner now, to revive the patient they almost Euthanized."

And what do you have against death with dignity? /snark

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 7, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

And what do you have against death with dignity? /snark

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 7, 2010 12:08 PM |

...................

Kevin,

I am afraid that they will botch the job again, and then call in Sean Hannity to explain why the comatose patient should be kept on life support, for ever.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"Soon enough, we'll find out whether the problem ... is that voters are simply not yet focused enough on the Dem message ... or whether the message itself is inherently flawed."

How about None of the Above? The problem for Dems is that this message is their best hope - what other message you gonna run on? What are the other options?

Posted by: sbj3 | September 7, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) economy kicked in during the latter part of 2007, when its architects decided that starving the economy of energy by refusing to allow more offshore drilling in the face of $4 gas prices was a winning political position. Pelosi claimed that because we couldn't totally "drill our way out of this," we shouldn't increase drilling at all. Reid put an exclamation point on Pelosi's stubbornness by insisting that fossil fuels are "making us sick."

What Pelosi, Obama, and Reid should do now is expand tax cuts, ditch all of the alleged "investments" in so-called "green" (read: globaloney boondoggle) technology, open up Alaskan oil and gas exploration, and watch the royalty money pour in. I know— that's way too much to "hope" that Alaskans be allowed to sell our own resources and enrich our country.

This turndown has been much more severe than it should have been because of a serious breakdown in "the rules of the game." Why invest in, start up, or expand any kind of business if there's a realistic possibility that the POR triumverate will aid your direct or indirect competitors, or otherwise radically and whimsically alter the playing field? This uncertainty has also taken its toll on consumers. Despite having billions of extra dollars available thanks to energy price drops and lower interest rates, their spending appears not to be ramping up proportionally.

The solution from Washington? More bailouts, leading to more uncertainty across the board. Yet another big "stimulus" and a less effective one at that. While tax "rebate" checks such as those sent by Bush are not as effective as across-the-board rate cuts, at least they put money into consumers' pockets quickly. But the new "stimulus" package evolving in Washington is dominated by public "investments" that, even if justified, would take much longer to make their way into the economy.

Please learn your history. FDR tried massive public works programs during the Depression. All he did is prolong it for seven years. Japan tried government stimulus for 10 years running in the 1990s. It only resulted in "the lost decade."

But that's the Leftist-fascist answer for everything— punish achievers to fund their distopian Big Gov Marxist pogroms. Only the most devoted Obamateur cultists buy O's tired redistributionist nonsense anymore.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

We can urge the voters, that if they loved how Republicans handled their two botched wars, turned annual budget surpluses, into massive deficits, and destroyed the middle class, then they should definitely give Mitch Kevorkian McConnell, and John Kevorkian Boehner another crack at treating the patient.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

This is why Obama has decided to go after the dog-vote. Nothing else is working.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The folks I truly do not understand are the tea parties. They are supposedly for smaller government, lower taxes, and more accountability with their money.

Then why would they vote for someone like Marco Rubio who has already exhibited a disdain for the taxpayers during his reign as Speaker of the Florida House. He has a record...the quid pro quos from the special interests are out there for everybody to see..his successor did the same as Marco but got caught and is now under indictment.

Presumably Joe "You Lie" Wilson is a tea party darling. He is one of the biggest grifters our Congress has seen in quite awhile.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/06/joe-wilson-gop-congressma_n_706522.html

Ethics investigators are also reportedly looking into Rep Wilson's foreign trips as a whole. Since he joined congress, Wilson's overseas travel has cost taxpayers about $100,000 in itemized expenses.

McClatchy reports:

That total puts Wilson at No. 29 among the 435 members of the House -- and at No. 39 among 730 members who've served since 1994, according to data published in the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of the House and Senate and analyzed by Congressional Quarterly.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

[Liam whined: "if they loved how Republicans handled their two botched wars"]

Liam's bedwetting over the cost of our military defense against global jihadists is childish. The United States was founded on the basis of individual liberty. As a result, the Constitution assigns to the federal government the primary responsibility to “provide for the common defence.”

It is entirely reasonable to expend 4 percent of national income in the defense of freedom. Never­theless, the federal government is now allocating a smaller share of national income to defense than the average for the past four decades, despite the ongo­ing war against terrorism.

Projected growth in entitlement spending (not defense spending at this level) is at the core of the looming fiscal crisis facing the federal government. Defense expenditures at this level will jeopardize neither the health of the economy nor the prosper­ity of the American people— but a sustained commit­ment to defense is necessary to sustain liberty.

Paying 4 percent for freedom is worth the price. Indeed, it is a bargain.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

From Hoover to Bush2, Republican Economic Philosophy has brought about Great Depressions, and turned the Middle Class into Paupers.

Are voters willing to let Republicans do the same thing again. I know that some say that Republicans are counting on the voters contracting a case of mass amnesia, but I think that Republicans are counting on the majority of voters acting as if they were insane. After all; voting for to do the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different outcome, is a definition of insanity.

So, voter are you going to do the insane thing, and put the Republicans in charge to do the same thing, once more? Well, are you?

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst doesn't realize oil is traded globally and if we increase production, OPEC cuts back and we still have the same priced fuel.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 7, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

It appears swing voters have bought into the tighten the belts in a recession theory Republicans are selling because it's an easy to understand sell.

Tightening belts only exacerbates a recession.

This should be fun. The last decade was built with a house of cards. Easy credit through home equity loans fueled much of the economy. That money is gone now.

It'll take years for consumer habits to change.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 7, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington doesn't address the net US treasury revenue increase gained from oil production tax windfalls, if (indeed) the price remains the same.

But thanks for justifying the silly Pelosi-Obama-Reid triumverates policy for LESS energy independence.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

A reminder to the voters:


The TARP bailout of The Wall ST. Banks Was done under President George W. Bush.

If you do not remember that, then Google TARP, and read up on when Bush send Henry Paulson up to The Hill, to get down on his knees, to beg for the TARP bailout the Wall St Casino Bank Operators.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "So, voter are you going to do the insane thing, and put the Republicans in charge to do the same thing, once more? Well, are you?"

Well, now that you suggested I'm insane, I'll definitely be considering what you have to say a lot more closely. ;)

The swing vote tends to be impulsive, and they don't like what they're getting now. I'm thinking now, more than usual, a vote for a Republican will be, in fact, a vote against the Democrats. This is not about what the Republicans are promising to do so much as it is about how the Democrats are perceived, and the current state (and apparent prospects) of the economy.

BTW, last time there was a big sweep and we got a solidly Republican congress with a Democratic president, it presaged the Dot Com boom. Maybe some folks are thinking: "Sure, I'm crazy for voting for Republicans. Crazy like a fox!"

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 7, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst doesn't address the fact that increased production in Alaska won't do diddly squat to our deficit and thinks drilling alone is the only answer to energy independence.

Now, if you had honestly thrown in other sources of energy to help us achieve energy independence then I might have taken you seriously. But you chose to just try and use another drill here drill now API introduced slogan as a solution to all our problems and to rally against Democrats trying to address the problem with long term renewable resource solutions.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 7, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Swing voters buy belt tightening because Obama sold that snake oil by insisting on "shared sacrifice" (read: tax hikes).

The Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) triumverate has used the recession as an excuse for a historic and permanent expansion of government and deficits. Only during the height of WWII has DC matched current levels of spending (25% of GDP!) and deficits (10% of GDP). Even after the recession, runaway spending is expected to keep annual budget deficits over $1 trillion, which could result in sharply higher interest rates, painful tax increases, and even a Greece-like economic crisis. Beyond our own economic consequences, dumping this staggering debt on future generations would be absolutely immoral.

Today, average Americans agree that bloated "public service" salaries and benefits need trimming for a change. A recession is no excuse for irresponsible federal spending. Washington should repeal the remaining stimulus funds, which have failed to create jobs and growth. Any new unemployment assistance should be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. Remaining TARP funds should be rescinded before they can be allocated to new spending. Most important, lawmakers must repeal Obamacare, a ticking spending and deficit time bomb.

Sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The Fat Cats got their Tax Cuts from Bush, and it did not create jobs. In fact it created a massive budget deficit, and we lost millions of jobs. Why the hell would the voters want to see that repeated!

The fat cats have their tax breaks now, so why aren't they pulling the economy out of the ditch now.

In fact they are doing the exact opposite. They are sitting on all their wealth, and waiting for the working class consumers to start purchasing more.

That is Republican Catch22 Economics at work.

Cut taxes for the Super Rich, and they will invest that money, to make more money, as soon as the strapped working class start spending wages that they are not being paid, because the Fat Cats are sitting on all the money, and not hiring people.

The same thing is happening with the Casino Banks, that Bush bailed out with his TARP welfare for Robber Barons program.

They got the TARP bailout, and they are still refusing to give loans to small businesses now.

Trickle down is a sick joke.

Fat cats are takers, not givers.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse


Axelrod's problem is that his anti-Republican message is incoherent.

He tells me "out of the mainstream," lunatic Tea Partiers are taking over the Republican Party. And then he says that if elected these insurgents will strongly support the very traditional Republican policies they went to so much trouble to revolt against.

I've always admired Axelrod's energy and intelligence, but I fear his common sense has deserted him.

Posted by: junomoneta88 | September 7, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Expand Onshore Oil Production into Previously Restricted Areas, including Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil (16 years of current imports from Saudi Arabia) lie beneath a few thousand acres that can be accessed with minimal environmental impact.

Open America's Outer Continental Shelf to Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration. Offshore drilling bans prevent exploration in about 85% of our coastal waters. A reinvigorated offshore and onshore energy program could create 113,000 to 160,000 new jobs by 2030.

Peel Back All Energy Subsidies. The federal government must stop picking winners and losers in the energy sector. Subsidies create complacency within the industry and reduce the incentive to innovate. In most cases, subsidies either transfer part of the cost for a market-viable investment to the public or divert direct investment away from more efficient projects. They distort the market and cost the many for the benefit of the few. Freeing energy industries from all government subsidies would allow companies to rely on innovation and efficiency, not taxpayer handouts, to remain competitive and allow competition among all energy sources, including renewables.

Allow the U.S. Department of the Interior to Provide the Appropriate Lease Sales When Possible for Oil Shale. According to the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. The technology to collect and refine oil shale is developing at a rapid pace, and private companies are willing to invest in it. When the private sector demonstrates that oil shale is economically feasible and can be done safely, the DOI should allow commercialization to move forward.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, now that you suggested I'm insane, I'll definitely be considering what you have to say a lot more closely. ;)

................

Kevin,

I take that as an admission on your part, that you are going to vote for to elect Republicans to do the same thing again.

So which condition are you suffering from; Amnesia, or Insanity. If you do not get back to me, then I will assume that it is because your Amnesia prevented you from doing so.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"which have failed to create jobs and growth" according to who? You? Sean Hannity? The voices?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

All, Sharron Angle again refuses to disavow claim there are "domestic enemies" in Congress:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/angle_again_refuses_to_disavow.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Who are you going to call?

HOPE BUSTERS!

Call in Mitch Kevorkian McConnell and John Kevorkian Boehner. They will cure what ails you, with a strong dose of Milk Of Amnesia.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Chaos is winning the day: America is in economic decline; we all know why. Chaos is everywhere--from the airwaves to Congress to unfilled potholes. Our "wealth" is being bled to death by two endless nation building wars. Folks want instant solutions, but if solvable, "all of the above" will take generations to solve. But, maybe there is something else going on here, but we can't "see it," for just like climate change, which like cancer takes many years to come to fruition, we probably--as a country--have already peaked and are sliding towards a long-term decline. Chaos blinds us to this reality.

Posted by: dozas | September 7, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama promised stimulus spending would keep unemployment below 8%... instead it shot over 10% nationally and higher regionally. The only area with stable employment is DC metro.

VIDEO: Recovery Summer Vacation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TphW60JI4ro&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

[Greg whined: Sharron Angle again refuses to disavow claim there are "domestic enemies" in Congress]

What's with Greg's weird campaign to morph Sharron Angle into... (queue ominous music) *Nancy Pelosi's evil twin!*

Why didn't Pelosi's McCarthyistic threat to "investigate" patriotic Americans cause "a ripple in the national media." She is, afterall, the most powerful woman in the world (not an obscure candidate in Nevada).

I've been waiting patiently all month for the ACLU to denounce the “chilling effect” on the 1st Amendment exerted by Pelosi's hamfisted attempt to intimidate the American citizenry and inhibit folks from freely expressing their dissent.
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/114773-pelosi-new-yorkers-should-decide-in-ginned-up-mosque-controversy

But it’s only Labor Day, maybe they’re all still on summer vacation over at ACLU-HQ?

I’m sure they’ll all be chiming in on this any time now, you betcha.

*crickets chirp*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sharron Obtuse Angle is afraid of Water Fluoridation. She does not want to have it "sap and impurify her precious bodily fluids"

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Ethics investigators are also reportedly looking into Rep Wilson's foreign trips as a whole. Since he joined congress, Wilson's overseas travel has cost taxpayers about $100,000 in itemized expenses.

McClatchy reports:

That total puts Wilson at No. 29 among the 435 members of the House -- and at No. 39 among 730 members who've served since 1994, according to data published in the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of the House and Senate and analyzed by Congressional Quarterly.
_________________________
Michelle Antoinette Obama spent over twice in taxpayer funds flying to her French Vacation. The king himself spends more than that to go to a 15 minute photo op political speech anywhere in the country. He flew to Ohio for a 15 min teleprompter speech and then back to the White House.

I hope the Democrats starve after November on the cake they have voted for themselves the past 20 months!

Posted by: georgiarat | September 7, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

One of the most striking examples of delusional Leftist hypocrisy is Greg's absolute refusal to acknowledge that Angle is addressing her political adversaries IN CONGRESS.

Whereas, Pelosi's McCarthyistic threats to target CITIZENS for political investigation is inconvenient to Greg's Obamedia narrative-- so that glaring hypocrisy is disappeared by Greg. Not really amazing.

“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”
[Matthew 23:24]

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Weeee! Let's all clank our MCCARTHYISM! cowbells. If anyone needs to have an investigation opened into them, it’s Pelosi.

After the GOP takes over in November, they need to appoint a special investigator to look into such things as;

* her apparently fraudulent claims against the CIA and their harsh interrogation techniques;

* her misappropriation of government property by using military assets as personal taxis for her misbegotten family;

* potential fraud (she probably lied in any paperwork, pertaining to the use of those assets);

* and now her public attempt to harass those who oppose Islamo-supremacists erecting a 13-story 9/11 snuff porn emporium and jihad recruiting station at Ground Zero.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Antoinette Obama spent over twice in taxpayer funds flying to her French Vacation... yet she'll forever clomp like a mule alongside the elegant French first lady, Carla Sarkozy. http://lifestyle.xin.msn.com/en/beauty-fashion/photos.aspx?cp-documentid=4276005&page=1

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 7, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Quisling ClemKaddafiHopper sides with the French.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 7, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Democrats need their own National Perspirer-type cable news channel that sensationalizes and distorts every possible news item into anti-Republican propaganda.

Fear, hatred, Distortion,Distraction and Division is all Republicans have to offer America.

Posted by: thebobbob | September 7, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "I take that as an admission on your part, that you are going to vote for to elect Republicans to do the same thing again."

Are you asking me if I am now, or if I have ever been, a member of the Republican Party? ;)

I certainly have in the past, and the folks I'd be voting on this time, where I'm familiar with them, I like well enough.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 7, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Axelrod: Voters aren't (yet) buying our Bush message"
---------------------------------------------

Well, there's this (from the ABC/WP Poll noted in an earlier post):

24. How much blame do you think [ITEM] deserves for the country's economic situation - a great deal, a good amount, only some or hardly any?

a. The Bush administration, for inadequate regulation of the financial industry
b. The Obama administration, for not doing enough to turn the economy around

a. Bush
... Great deal/Good amount: 60%
... Some/Hardly any/None: 40%

b. Obama
... Great deal/Good amount: 42%
... Some/Hardly any/None: 57%

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postpoll_09072010.html

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

How amazing. The Democrats only idea for winning an election is to run agianst Bush!

Even thought THEY have controlled the congress for the last four years and the Whitehouse for just less then two years!

But everything is still Bush's fault!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | September 7, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Axelrod is delusional. We already know that stomping on "the other party is even worse!" is not a winning campaign strategy. Evidence: Creigh Deeds lost with that message in a landslide!

Now, I understand the Axelrod is having difficulties coming up with good reasons why voting Dems is better than voting GOP. That's because the Obama policies are only marginally better than the right wing ones (and sometimes undistinguishable. Catfood commission, anyone?). And we all know the voters don't do nuances!

Posted by: Gray62 | September 9, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

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