A couple weeks back, we gave some free campaign strategy to Republicans running for House and Senate seats. There were four things that we thought needed to be hammered on relentlessly and they were:
1) The economy/jobs
3) Federal spending/unsustainable debt
The first 3 are pretty obvious and the 4th may be as well, but as the Republican ads we've see thus far are doing the job on the first three (shoot, even some Democratic candidates are following this advise), we're not seeing the process of governance hit up nearly as much as it should.
Right now, the Republicans are the proverbial dude walking around the whorehouse with hundred dollar bills hanging out of his pocket. We like the dude's chances also but why leave the voters wondering - the issue of process needs to be a campaign theme as well and Jay Cost writing in Politico's Horse Race blog agrees with us:
Partisans on both sides tell themselves stories about why they're up, why they're down, and why the other side is where it is. These stories usually contain at least a grain of truth, but they also help encourage ideologues in the face of an impending rejection by the electorate. Democrats ignored the political problem of health care in the fall and winter - arguing that Martha Coakley and Creigh Deeds were bad candidates, that voters had been turned off by the health care bill because of the process, and that they would come around once the many benefits kicked in. Now, they're pointing to the economy as the only significant reason why the party is in trouble.
It would be difficult for any strong partisan to admit that such an accomplishment was so deeply unpopular. Yet the polling is pretty unequivocal on the relationship between the Democrats' fortunes and the health care bill. It was during the health care debate that the essential building block of the Democratic majority - Independent voters - began to crumble. It was evident in the generic ballot. It was evident in the President's job approval numbers. It was evident in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
Reconstructing the Democrats' meme, we can fairly say that the economy is a huge problem for the party. Of this, there can be no doubt. We can also say that the stalled recovery denied the Democrats a chance to win back the voters they lost over health care. But the process and passage of health care reform were crucial elements in the story. That's when the party started losing the voters it needs to retain control of the government.
Cost alludes to the narrative attempting to be established by the liberal-Left that if the economy wasn't in the tank as it is currently, the President's approval numbers would not be upside down as they are now.
Because that premise is not entirely without merit, it then behooves Republicans to remind Independents that whatever state the economy would've been in right now, the reason why they fell out of love with the Obama and the Democrats: the process of the passage of ObamaCare was a spit in the face at them.
Remind Indies that the HopenChange narrative was all about changing the way business was done and how Obama was going to achieve transparent and ethical governance in D.C. And then remind them of the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the union carve outs, the Stupak sell-outs and all the rest of the backroom wheeling and dealing that ultimately resulted in a monstrous entitlement program that we cannot pay for and will limit our medical decision freedoms. Process matters.
Process played a big part in 2006 when the Democrats won back the House and Senate by hammering the Republicans on their ethics problems.
It's too late in the election cycle for the economy to be of aid to the Democrats even if it did miraculously spring back to life, but drive a stake through this thing by emphasizing that it wasn't just that Cash for Clunkers and Porkulus did nothing for jobless numbers and the economy as a whole but that Hope and Change are an entirely fraudulent brand.