By Don Klein
The Democrats are behaving like lost sheep in the wilderness. They are starting to panic with ill advised comportment. Instead of trumpeting the good they have accomplished during the last year and a half and contrasting that with the bleak future we will face if the Republicans take over, they are publicly scolding their followers.
Instead of proudly itemizing that which is in their favor, they seem to cower at the prospect of certain defeat. The Democrats have lots to crow about, even if they did not match up to President Obama’s promises, even if they have had disappointments along the way.
They have two important elements in their favor. 1) the social and economic advances accomplished since they took over the White House in 2009, and 2) the gloomy prospects every working class person faces with a Republican victory. Those two should be enough to bring in enough votes for them to hold power in Washington.
But so far they are ineffectively saying little about these important matters. If they loose in November by sitting in the corner and contemplating defeat while allowing the opposition take the political initiative from them it will be their own fault.
With a mere five weeks left before election day, rather than rebuking their justly disappointed following, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden should spend their time exhorting the countryside with positives -- not negatives.
Since they seem unable to come up with a program of their own, I offer them the Klein Plan for Victory on November 2.
++ Remind the voters of the good aspects of the health plan despite the lack of the preferred public option. There are many good elements in what the GOP likes to call Obamacare yet they make it sound like the plan is an abomination. Let the people know all the facts and how it helps many who are now at last covered.
++ Tell the public which has been badly stung by the shenanigans of Wall Street that the Obama program to reactivate regulations on the financial industry, although not perfect, will restrict the behavior of the robber barons in the near future.
++ Let those with short memories be reminded that a children’s health bill was passed over Republican objections as was the bailout which saved millions of jobs, a regenerated infrastructure is in the works and Obama kept the recession from declining into a full blown depression.
++ Cue them in on the near collapse of the auto industry and how it was saved by Obama’s quick action and how the automakers are on the road to health and will repay all that the government invested in them with interest.
++ The most effective argument for retaining the Democrats in power, however, will be to expose what the Republicans plan to do if they win. They promise to reduce the federal budget, but will not touch military funds and social security. What is left? Medicare, unemployment benefits, education, environmental programs, and the like. This should immediately turn off the senior citizens, couples with young children, and the unemployed.
++ The Republicans would disband the Health Care Law to the disadvantage of millions and continue to hamper any effort to effectively restrict illegal immigration to the consternation of those living in states bordering on Mexico.
++ A victorious GOP would maintain the tax cuts for the wealthy at a tremendous cost to the rest of us further plunging the country into deeper debt and would encourage the continuation of outsourcing and other programs to benefit corporations at the cost of American jobs. They already have apologized to BP for being forced by Obama to underwrite oil spill losses to individual Americans.
++ The Republicans just offered a Pledge to America which was short on specifics but long on generalities. They offered not a single new idea and in effect have suggested that if they get their way they will close down the government to set themselves up for a 2012 presidential victory.
The latest polls have shown signs of improved standing for Democrats and with more than a month to go this upward trend should continue and make the election not the runaway some have predicted, but a close battle. That is providing the Democrats show a lot more gumption then they have so far.
Talk about what is still left to do, about the continued Democratic agenda for change. They should be parroting Al Jolson’s old line: "You ain’t seen nothin’ yet." All the GOP offers is back to the dormant Bush years.
As long as they act like losers they will probably end up proving the proposition. For decades I have watched the Democrats act like they were ashamed of doing the right thing. Recently they put off a vote on the allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire until after the election. What a bunch of craven back alley mice.
The more I talk to people about their preferences in national elections the more I hear them sound off with the same thoughts even though they might express it differently. It comes down to the saddest of all conclusions for a great people who invented the concept of free elections of government leaders. Too often the beautiful ideal is corrupted by the election of unresponsive and callous legislatures.
What is that thought they all have? "I vote for the lesser of two evils." Although neither party is worth a goat’s derriere, the difference this year is that one evil – the Republicans – is a lot worse than the other. And the Democrats should speak out about it or we all loose.