September 30, 2005

Kondracke: Democrats Will Not "Go Positive" Until After 2006

The Democrats have become the party of "anything but Bush" with a platform of opposing or obstructing any initiatives, policies or nominees proposed by Bush. Rather than propose viable alternative policies, the Democrats have been satisfied with telling us how Bush has failed. According to Mort Kondracke, the Democrats will offer a more positive approach, however, not until after the 1996 election:

Democrats have an answer to the question, "OK, what's your alternative to the Bush policies you constantly criticize?" It is: "We're working on it." When it emerges, in a form yet to be determined, it's likely to include proposals for tax reform, health insurance, energy independence, national security and retirement reform.

Both House and Senate Democrats, plus outside consultants and think tank operatives, say that the party should have a full-blown alternative agenda to take into the 2006 elections - but that it doesn't need one yet. Democrats think that 2006 could be - in the words of Democracy Corps, the liberal polling group - "a major change election," like 1994, when Republicans gained 52 House seats and nine Senate seats and took control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

They think that 1994 happened to them because of negative campaigning by Republicans against then-President Bill Clinton, defeat of his signature health care initiative and perceived corruption in the Democratic Congress. Duplicating the 1994 pattern, Democrats have been relentlessly pummeling President Bush on Iraq, gas prices and hurricane lapses and just-indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) for alleged "corruption." ....

The good news is that Democrats know they have to be positive eventually. I think it would be to their advantage to speed up the process.

I have written about this previously.

The Democrats do not seem to understand that insane Bush hatred will do nothing to solve our nation's problems nor will it help to build the Democratic base. So, you think Bush has royally screwed up the Hurricane relief? Tell me how we could be doing it better. You want to win voters? Then tell the people what you can offer them - don't merely dwell on what you perceive to be the failings of the Republicans or their policies. If the public perceives that the Republicans are the only people actually doing anything or offering any form of policy, then the public will overwhelmingly favor the Republicans at the ballot box- no matter how flawed the Republican policies may be. Until the Democrats learn this lesson, they will become a permanent minority party.
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