I am fearful that beyond the roadblock that they present to progressive legislation, the current House majority threatens to make our country ungovernable, with consequences that may be well be disastrous over the next few years. Hence I have drafted the following plea to House Democratic Leader Pelosi to seek to create a coalition of House Democrats and less-extreme Republicans to form a governing majority in the new Congress. I am sending this to Pelosi at Americanvoices@mail.house.gov. I do not know how many of you will agree with me, as I am sure that many of you will reject any approach to the current crisis that depends on the cooperation of more conservative Democrats and traditional mainstream Republicans, but I would encourage anyone who shares my views to share them with her also, using my language or your own.
I do not imagine that such a coalition could serve as a foundation for robust progressive change, but it might at least allow the country to be effectively governed over the next few years in a fashion that is not driven by an extremist conservative minority.
I also welcome comments from anyone who wishes to suggest either additional venues for putting forth this message, or alternative strategies for dealing with the reality of a House the includes a majority of members who were elected as Republicans.
I haven't posted a diary on Daily Kos for several years, but I've been thinking a lot about the coming election, and I'd like to share a thought about how the Democrats might better connect with some of the many swing voters out there who do not have strong liberal or conservative views or a deep understanding of the issues, but who are concerned about economic conditions and may be susceptible to the notion that a businessman from a business-friendly party is the best bet to "fix" the economy.
It seems to me that the Democrats need to push back strongly against this idea. At the same time, there is plenty of research out there showing that ads that explicitly rebut a false claim are likely to backfire, with viewers remembering the claim targeted and not the evidence of its falsity. So the push back needs to be framed as a positive message, and I think that can be done.
I read a Bloomberg News Service piece the other day which reported that over the past 50 years, job growth in the U.S. has been nearly twice as fast under Democratic Presidents as it has been under Republican Presidents. I know that I have also seen articles in the past pointing out that on average, stock market prices have risen more under Democrats than under Republicans. A quick search on the Internet uncovered a couple of sites that reported similar analyses and similar results when the rate of personal or family income growth under Democratic and Republican leadership is compared. And I strongly suspect that you could come up with a similar result for wage growth.
This makes me think that it should not be that hard for the Obama campaign or the Democratic Party to run a positive ad campaign that would directly take on the false Republican claims that electing Romney or other Republicans would be better for the economy, but without repeating those claims. The ads could stay away from controversial issues, and they would not even have to mention Romney or the Republicans by name.
If they don’t already have them in the can to run when the timing is right, I hope that they will come up with one or more ads that go something like this:
Over the past 50 years, job growth in the United States has been twice as fast under Democratic presidents. [Simple bar graph with tall blue bar and short red bar.]
During the same years, average wages have gone up 60 percent faster [just a guess] when a Democrat has been President. [Another bar graph with tall blue bar and short red bar.]
Over the same time period, family incomes have grown eighty percent faster [I’m guessing again here] under Democratic leadership. [Another similar bar graph.]
And since [say] 1960, stock prices have risen [another guess] more than twice as fast when a Democratic President has been in office
Better for jobs. Better for wages. Better for families. And better for investors.
Democratic leadership: Better for the economy. And better for America. [Pictures of happy working people and a flag or two]
My mother, who is 79 and not computer savvy, composed this verse recently and encouraged me to share it online if I thought it worthwhle. I thought some of you might enjoy it:
I’m a weepin’ and a wailin’
I’m a quakin’ and a qualin’
‘Cause they picked that Sarah Palin
Oh, their wits they must be failin’
All the liberals she’ll be tailin’
All progressives she’ll be jailin’
You can see my hopes are ridin’
On Obama and on Biden
There is nothing that they’re hidin’
If you’ve trouble in decidin’
Then I surely will be chidin’
All the people who can’t see
That our country must be free
It was made for you and me
And I’m sure you will agree
This is not a foolish plea
Please don’t string us from a tree
by Betty L.
P.S. My mother also tells me that despite the reports of resistance to Obama among the elderly, most of the folks she talks to in the senior housing where she lives in Wisconsin are planning to vote for him.