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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

The Republicans have used all of their heavy artillery to obstruct economic recovery, and they have slowed it down, but they have failed to stop it. In his Daily Beast post, “Obama’s Economic Triumph,” Michael Tomasky explains: “…Consumer confidence is at a five-year high. Personal debt is back to normal levels, which is a big deal. Housing investment is up, real-estate prices are rebounding everywhere, the stock market is breaking records… Obama has now created a net positive of more than 1.6 million jobs in four-and-a-half years, which is better than Bush’s mark of 1.08 million in all eight of his years…Many economists believe that things would be going even better right now without the austerity imposed on us by the Republicans who run the House of Representatives.”
NBC News Senior Political Editor Mark Murray reports that President Obama’s job-approval rating is at 48 percent, essentially unchanged, according to the new NBC/WSJ poll. Further, “While only 36 percent say they’re satisfied with the state of the U.S. economy, that’s the highest number on this question since 2006. What’s more, the percentage believing the United States is still mired in an economic recession is at its lowest level since Obama became president.”
The New York Times editorial board opines that “patchwork of conscience and callousness” that defines the difference between Democratic and Republican ruled states with respect to Obamacare and other benefits can’t last too long. “…Better examples are not far away. When residents begin to realize the grass is much greener on the other side of the state line, budget-slashing lawmakers will be under pressure to either change their ways or change jobs.”
At Wonkblog Ezra Klein explains why “The House won’t have a bipartisan immigration bill. That’s (maybe) okay.” Says Klein: “There’s a theory going around that that’s actually better for the final bill. The premise is that the purpose of the House process is to get a bill through the House. It could be a good bill. It could be a bad bill. It just has to be a bill. Because once something makes it through the House it will go to conference with the Senate. Once it goes to conference with the Senate, the Senate can force a product that’s more like its bill than the House bill. And once the process is that near to completion, House Republicans will be afraid to kill it. Speaker John Boehner will waive the Hastert rule, it’ll be passed with a bunch of Democratic votes, and President Obama will have something to sign.”
Nate Silver cites a “weak GOP field” as likely to favor Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s election to the U.S. Senate, replacing Sen. Lautenberg and holding the seat for Dems.
“Scarred by years of Republican attacks over Obamacare, with more in store next year, Democrats have settled on an unlikely strategy for the 2014 midterms: Bring it on,” writes Alex Isenstadt at Politico. “Party strategists believe that embracing the polarizing law — especially its more popular elements — is smarter politics than fleeing from it in the House elections…Democratic strategists are convinced there’s plenty to like in the law — such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, eliminating lifetime caps on coverage and allowing children to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they are 26 — and are coaching lawmakers and candidates girding for tough races next year to hammer home those benefits…”Fix the bad, keep the good, and move on” is the message House hopefuls are being advised to use. Offer help to voters navigating the ins and outs of the altered health care system. And flip the script on Republicans by accusing them of wanting to do away with the most popular provisions, the strategy goes.”
The Susan Rice and Samantha Powers appointments will likely whip up a frenzy of Obama Derangement Syndrome from the Republicans, although McCain and others may be encouraged by interventionist comments attributed to Powers.
Ed Kilgore flags the TNR post, “Why the Democrats Still Need Working-Class White Voters” by TDS colleagues Andrew Levison and Ruy Teixeira. As Kilgore sums up their post: “Realistic goals, careful targeting real connections, and a patient, long-term commitment to engagement are what’s needed to rebuild Democratic WWC support, and perhaps to prevent further erosion. It’s good advice for donkeys.”
As a long-time fan, it pains me to admit that Tomasky’s post “The Racist Redskins” is absolutely right. Democratic leaders should speak out in favor of a name change, especially since many attend the games.
Regarding another symbolic topic with political ramifications, Kilgore has what is likely the definitive takedown of the ill-considered argument that the confederate battle flag is an apolitical symbol of southern culture.

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