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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Must Dramatize GOP Jobs Blockade

There’s been a lot of discussion in Democratic circles lately about what Dems can do with the fact that Republicans clearly want the economic recovery to fail, at least until the November ’12 elections. Of course, the smarter Republicans deny it, while others like Rush Limbaugh have said it plain.
Wanting the economy to fail is not only unpatriotic; it’s also callously self-serving on a purely human level. it’s a sick political party that will let millions of Americans suffer so it can gain electoral advantage. The question is, how can Democrats turn the GOP’s obstruction of the recovery against them?.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi may have come up with an effective way to address Republican obstructionism. In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley, Pelosi explained, “When the … unemployment rate is high, it’s hard for the incumbent to win. I remind you though, we’re not the incumbent. The Republicans are the incumbent.”
Some might say it’s a tough sell, arguing that Republicans are “the incumbent” because they control the House of Representatives, when Dems are a majority of the Senate and hold the white house. But Republicans are exercising functional veto power by obstructing any bipartisan reforms.
The TDS bumper sticker, GOP=Gridlock, Obstruction and Paralysis is even more painfully true today than it was when we first made it available.
But Pelosi is right that the Republicans are the “incumbents” in the sense that they are the force that is preventing congressional action on needed legislative reforms. The House Republicans represent the status quo that is obstructing public service employment, infrastructure renewal, restrictions on outsourcing jobs and increased tax revenues from multi-millionaires and corporations that are awash in exorbitant profits. They exercise a knee-jerk veto power on all progressive economic reforms that could put people to work and balance the budget. For a good graphic representation of their strategy, see here.
So maybe dubbing the GOP as “the real incumbents” could be an effective meme that might make some of the more thoughtful swing voters pause before blaming Dems for inaction on needed reforms to expand employment. Dems must have a soundbite-sized meme to capture the GOP’s obstructionist opposition to needed economic reforms, and Pelosi’s point is a good one.

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