Before I post a link to the article, and excerpts, allow me to introduce the two authors, just to get it right out front that these are really two Democrats, not straw men:
Attorneys Jay Eisenhofer and Richard Schiffrin are both active Democrats. Eisenhofer is a member of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Majority Trust, and Schiffrin was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Pennsylvania finance chairman.
Now that we have that out of the way, here’s Jay and Richard’s article on AOL Opinions (sheesh, I remember when AOL was QuantumLink, a service for Commodore computers).
With President Barack Obama facing an outpouring of criticism from his party base following the tax-and-spending deal cut with congressional Republicans, it is time for the base to face reality: The Democrats’ message on the economy is not working.
At this point, you may be forgiven for thinking, “oh, another ‘the policies are right, it’s just the way we sell them that’s wrong’ message.” However, that’s not what these two loyal Democrats have in mind:
Voters are not misguided or confused or too angry and upset to think clearly. And if Democrats persist in telling themselves that this is the message of 2010, their long-term viability will suffer no matter what happens in 2012.
Instead, the electorate has shown that it will listen to a party that presents a vision for growth, greatness and fairness. An agenda that is limited to fairness is doomed to failure.
This represents a radical shift from “the voters are stupid,” which is a message that lots of Democrats, from former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to Barack Obama himself, even to bigmouth Al Sharpton.
This leads to their good question:
But where is the [Democratic Party's] vision for future growth and prosperity? So far there has been none.
No, the only message we’re seeing from the current Democratic Party is “spend, regulate, take over industries, repeat as long as possible.”
The electorate knows the difference between policies that promote public investment — rebuilding bridges, highways, ports and water systems, modernizing the electricity grid, expanding educational access — versus policies that are simply transfers via tax payments to favored constituencies.
Improvements in education cannot mean only increased payments to teachers. Physical improvements and sound educational policies cannot take a back seat to increases in public-sector salaries and pensions. Our corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world. Tax reductions should promote competitiveness and corporate investment.
Actually, there’s a better way to work education, that’s with vouchers… but as far as these two Democrats go, they’re right… they just haven’t taken that last step yet.
Democrats must fight for these policies so that they don’t become a party only of people dependent on the government. That’s not healthy for the party, and it’s not healthy for the country.
Indeed. However, with their insistence on adding more people to the government benefit rolls, most recently with ObamaCare (which the authors laud earlier in the article), it seems that the modern Democratic party is headed away from these two gentlemen.
It is time for Democrats to present a pro-growth story that speaks to the hopes and aspirations of the country. Currently, voters perceive the Democratic message as pain in the name of building a fairer society. That is not going to sell and it is not going to build a great nation for the 21st century.
Also very true.
As I mentioned before, they are still loyal Democrats, and they laud many big-government projects, including ObamaCare… but they are also right that the current set of policies don’t bode well for the Democratic Party. Perhaps someday we’ll see these two joining no less a conservative than Ronald Reagan in saying, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”