Last week I cautioned the newly elected Republicans to learn the right lesson from their gains on November 2nd. So, I thought I would also offer some advice to Democrats.
Did the Democrats really not learn anything from the election results last Tuesday, November 2nd? I find that difficult to believe, but I see that Nancy Pelosi is running for House Minority Leader. I envision reasonable Democrats bashing their heads against concrete columns to temporarily ease the anguish.
With last Tuesday’s slaughter of the mythical “Blue Dogs”, Pelosi’s short-sighted leadership was actually rewarded. The opposition within her own party was crushed by the voters, leaving a Democrat House Caucus that is probably farther left than at any time in US History. And that means a Democrat Caucus much more likely to reward Pelosi with the top Democrat position in the US House of Representatives. If Pelosi destroyed the Blue Dogs on purpose, then that would be worthy of Machiavelli.
So, if Democrats learned a lesson, did they learn the right one? Mark Twain used to relate a story about a cat that sat on a hot stove lid. Never again did the cat sit on a hot stove lid – but it never sat on another cold one, either. The cat learned a lesson, but not the right lesson.
From interviews so far, it appears that President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid believe the Democrats just need to make a quick trip to Madison Avenue and then everything can be fixed with a good ad campaign. It’s simple: find the right branding, the right marketing and – if Democrats are very fortunate – a meme that resonates with independent American voters.
The second easiest way for a business to fail is to have a great product and terrible marketing. The easiest, and fastest, way for a business to fail is to have a terrible product and great marketing. These are the two ways to view the reasons that the American people soundly rejected the Obama Administration’s policies.
The Obama Administration and other Democrats claim they have a great product but poor marketing and public relations. Republicans and others favoring small government are convinced that the Obama Administration has a poisonous product and that the American people understand it. They are also convinced that the more people become acquainted with Democrat policies the faster they will fail.
The question is the obvious one: Who is right?
I’ll leave the minutiae of enormous, nearly impenetrable bills to policy wonks of both parties. First, let’s look instead at the actions of the two groups. They are very different and; therefore, very instructive.
From the Democrats we have Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius threatening health insurance companies who complain about the dangers and costs of Obamacare. On March 9th of this year, we have Nancy Pelosi pushing through bills without debate and even stating, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it - away from the fog of the controversy.” Translation: “Just pass the bill and don’t pay any attention to those who oppose it.”
Honest debate alone could not get Obamacare passed in the US Senate either. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his allies cut the myriad of deals that were the only way to get Obamacare passed in the Senate. The phrases “Louisiana Purchase”, “Cornhusker Kickback” and “Gator Aid” should be shameful ones, as should the House embarrassment, the “Slaughter Solution”.
There are many other examples, but the rush to pass bills before the public could review the bills and express an opinion lets us know that even the Democrats themselves know their own product is bad. Remember the artificial deadlines? Remember the broken promises about transparency and on-line access to bills under consideration?
Second, let’s look at some empirical data. Granted, there’s not much at this time, but there are a few things to consider.
On the stimulus, President Obama promised that if the stimulus bill were passed that unemployment would not go above eight percent. We now know that was wrong, as unemployment rates went as high as ten percent and continue to hover well above nine percent.
On healthcare, there are several matters that have already been either disproven or Democrats have admitted were incorrect, but the main point is on cost and deficit neutrality.
President Obama rejected all GOP ideas on healthcare because they were not “deficit neutral”. Yet, Obama knew his own bill was not revenue neutral because it used ten years of taxes to cover five years of benefits. The CBO now shows Obamacare will cost more than originally estimated and is no longer deficit neutral.
Draw your own conclusions, but it appears that this time, it’s the Republicans who want the public informed and the Democrats who are seeking smoke-filled back rooms to do damage to the republic.
As a completely unworthy and unrelated side-note:
As a Republican, I’d like to start a new political movement in support of Nancy Pelosi. After all, the former Speaker has done a tremendous service for the Grand Old Party. I believe widespread support could easily be found for a group called “Pelosi for Permanent House Minority Leader.”