Have the Washington Democrats learned the main lessons from the 2010 Midterms? I'm afraid it does not appear that many of them have. I've listened to countless democratic lawmakers and strategists on the airwaves since the midterm election defeats. They've spoken about the poor economy and not getting out their message of the good things they've done the past two years. And this is partly true, but the one large point that I think is being overlooked is what is causing the messaging problems?
In short it is the absence of real leadership on issue after issue from this President. Without this key ingredient, it is difficult to frame a coherent message for democrats in leadership positions and democratic strategists who appear on the airwaves to make their case to the public. With this brings individual democratic elected officials on the airwaves all saying different things on key issues of the day. There is no unified messaging as a result. For example, you may have 5 democrats appearing on the Sunday Talk Shows and they are all asked about a given issue of the day. What happens? You get five different answers on what should be done on that one given issue. I think it's safe to say over the last two years, we have all seen this repeatedly.
The way to fix this? The White house needs to create an over-arching narrative to what it is they are trying to do for this country. If they do this, virtually every piece of legislation before the Congress can be framed utilizing this narrative. For example, a "rebuilding the middle class"or "protecting the middle class" narrative would have allowed the White house and Democratic leaders to create a clear and concise message they could have taken to the public to clearly state their case for the need for specific legislation and how it is important in completing the objective of the aforementioned narrative.
Issues like health care reform, wall street reform, the GM bailout, jobs bill, and now the Bush Tax Cuts, could have been all easily framed through this middle class narrative. Furthermore, you then "box in" your opponents on all these issues right from the very outset, whether they be republicans, independents or blue dog democrats, as being protectors of big corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the middle class if they are opposed to these pieces of legislation. This one strategy was the main reason for FDR's success and election to four terms as POTUS. If FDR got opposition on one of his initiatives to strengthen the middle and working classes, he was immediately able to go on offense using this middle class narrative, branding his opposition as protectors of the wealthy and big corporations; which they were just like in today's political environment. Because this narrative made it clear who was protecting the wealthy and big corporations, he was able to keep the American public on his side through a worst economy than what President Obama has inherited.
Because of a lack of a narrative, President Obama and this White house have struggled mightily to present their case to the public on the majority of issues even though it is crystal clear where republicans and blue dog democrats were doing nothing other than shilling to protect the wealthy and multi nationals interests at the expense of the rest of the nation.