I see more energy here today in Eclectablog's diary than I did during election season 2010. For months the quietest places on this blog were in election posts. The ones that did catch interest weren't in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Illinois they were in Arkansas to unseat a Democrat and replace her with a (mildly?) better one.
We had a late and slow fundraising drive and GOTV efforts, by the time this site got in the game we were playing defense. We had little to no impact in the media and didn't come close to defining a message for why people should vote for Democrats. On this site many couldn't even determine the difference between the parties, let alone find a reason to put shoes on and talk to their neighbors about it. In 2008, I was able to convince a lot of you to support a pro-choice Dem for Congress in Alabama, and we almost won. And your help meant a lot and made a difference down there. This was election central in 2008, you can't say the same about 2010.
The President deserves blame for this too. I actually think motivating this group wouldn't have been difficult.
Most of the criticism around here doesn't boil down to the fact that President Obama negotiated for compromise legislation. The focus seems to be on the way he negotiated and the communications involved. It seems to me all the President had to do was add liberal talking points to his message. I'm doing X, What I really wanted to do was Y, but Z happened. It's just one more variable, but it would have meant the world around here.
Example: "We're doing a market-based healthcare reform, I believe life or death decisions about your healthcare shouldn't be subject to whether or not it's profitable for business, but we just don't have enough votes in the Congress for that right now. A public insurance option is the type of thing that slashes costs in western Democracies around the World but alas the way things are right now we can't have it."
It would have allowed the hope and change message to carry on rather than underwhelm.
And what would it have cost?
We've proven that our support is elastic, so how does this President get us back? And I mean back in the form of organizing, activists who do nothing but hold their nose and vote isn't enough.
President Obama needs to channel Harry Truman circa 1948 for his next campaign. Esoteric change isn't going to cut it this time around. He should call for a Constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and a Wall Street tax. He needs to call out the do-nothing 112th Congress, do-nothing but take away rights for the powerless, heating oil for the cold, food for the poor. This Congress leaves people freezing and hungry to pay for Wall Street's mistakes. They'll pay for contractors in Iraq but not in your town. This stuff writes itself. Truman had it just right we also need to be pushed to vote every 2 years so regressive forces can't roll back progress.
"You know this Congress is interested in the welfare of the better classes. They are not interested in the welfare of the common everyday man... Educate yourselves. You don't want to do like you did in 1946. Two-thirds of you stayed home in 1946, and look what a Congress we got! That is your fault, that is your fault." Truman then went on to remark to a reporter that the 80th Congress was the worst in history.
We got our asses handed to us in 2010 and there is plenty of blame to go around. The damage from that election will be with us for quite some time, we won't have as many Dems in Congress until Jan 2015 at the earliest. And as you can tell at the state level we're struggling. What all can we do to take care to not repeat the mistakes of last year?