In response to the malevolent Republican assault on those millions of Americans not fortunate enough to be employed in this economy, Democratic Groups right now are wrapping a fitting Christmas present to the GOP on the assumption that Republicans will not extend benefits to the unemployed before year's end.
Democrats and liberal groups are still not giving up. They are planning a concerted, multi-faceted push over the break designed to pressure Republicans — not Congress; Republicans — to agree to renew the benefits. This comes after Harry Reid announced that a vote on extending UI — which Republicans continue to resist — will take place when the Senate reconvenes in January.The goal is to inform and educate Americans home for the Holidays that the "spirit of giving" has no place in the Republican Party.
Liberal groups will launch a national TV ad campaign that hits Republicans for letting benefits expire for over one million Americans, to be launched the day after Christmas and run on national cable through at least December 28th, the day benefits are set to expire. The ads will also highlight GOP priorities by spotlighting GOP opposition to nixing loopholes enjoyed by the top one percent even as a lifeline expires for over one million far less fortunate AmericansThe ads will be backed by what is described as a "significant buy" and will be sponsored by Americans United For Change as well as several unions, including the UAW and the AFL-CIO.
Complementing the media strategy, Democrats in Congress will be using local media in Republican districts to highlight how the termination of unemployment benefits affects the GOP's own constituent base. They will count people who will be kicked off the rolls and feed that information to local news outlets. Vulnerable Republicans will be targeted by stories of people in their Districts who have lost their benefits.
Of course, Republican House members ensconced in safe, gerrymandered districts and beholden to corporate interests that exist solely to benefit the multimillionaire class aren't really expected to respond to the needs of ordinary citizens. For that reason the strategy goes well beyond the immediate problem of restoring jobless benefits and looks to provide Americans with an overarching portrait of GOP heartlessness across the board in advance of the 2014 elections. This is particularly important due to a lazy media accustomed to blaming "Congress" for problems that are caused solely by the Republican Party:
It’s a point of constant frustration for Democrats that in situations like these — when one party favors extending benefits, and the other opposes it — the media storyline is invariably that “Congress” is failing to act. So one key goal of this campaign is to drive home to the public that “Congress” isn’t letting down these one million or more Americans; Republicans are.A political party which more than half of the American public believes deliberately sabotaged all attempts at job creation over the last five years and now seeks to throw the jobless out into the street deserves a special kind of gift.
So Merry Christmas, GOP!
Note: MB published a similar post for the FP while I was writing this, but unless he objects I'm publishing this version because I believe it's worthy of note. Also, the initial comments to MB's post noted that Democrats supported the budget that does not include an extension of UE benefits, point being, I suppose, that Democrats are "complicit" in some way. That's wrong and its an unfair accusation. The Democrats agreed to pass a compromise budget, however flawed, to avoid the prolonged agony and pointlessness of another government shutdown and to move the country forward. The extension of unemployment benefits is something that should have been included as a matter of course--and undoubtedly would have, had the Dems had a House majority. They don't. This is all on the Republican Party. It is an an issue separate--and indeed was severed--from the budget negotiations, and to suggest that the Democrats somehow bear responsibility for what House Republicans insisted on is a bogus argument. The focus should be on the Party actually responsible. And that's what this effort is all about.