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Obama's populist pitch fizzles - "2014 might not be the year for Democrats"
The Hill ^ | March 26, 2014 | Bernie Becker

Posted on 03/26/2014 5:22:02 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

President Obama’s populist economic pitch is fizzling.

The White House hoped to hammer Republicans this year on an array of pocketbook issues centered on hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, an effort meant to appeal to independents and rally Democrats to the polls.

Three months in, Obama’s approval ratings are flailing in the low 40s, and Senate Democrats haven’t even been able to unify their 55 members on a minimum wage bill.

That’s made it tougher to contrast the positions of Democrats with Republicans in an election year that is shaping up to be about the healthcare law and Obama.

“You always want a contrast. It’s always better to have votes to run on, and there hasn’t been a lot to run on so far,” said Jim Manley, a former spokesman to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who is now with QGA Public Affairs. “Republicans have done a good job stalling the debate on the Hill.”

Senate Democrats, according to independent projections, could easily lose the six seats needed to give the GOP a majority of the upper chamber. And House Democrats, who once talked up winning back the chamber, could now easily lose seats.

Blaming the GOP for the lack of a Senate vote on the minimum wage sidesteps the point that Democrats themselves haven’t unified around a single bill. For example, Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.), a vulnerable Democrat running this year, has balked at raising the minimum wage to $10.10.

There’s been some talk of pushing a Senate vote on the minimum wage back into the week after next, though a leadership aide stressed that Democrats still wanted to bring the measure to the floor next week.

Democrats acknowledge their message hasn’t caught fire with voters.

But they also insist that economic pitch is the best they’ve got to counter the consistent Republican drumbeat on ObamaCare, and that this brand of populism worked in Obama’s 2012 reelection over GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

They argue Russia’s incursion into Ukraine has taken them off message, and that they still have more than seven months to rally.

Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, added that other vulnerable incumbents — like Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) — are going to have a different spin on the party’s broader pitch on the economy and the middle class.

“Every one of our Senate candidates has a message that is unique to them and their states,” Barasky said.

Still, Democrats face a slew of political headwinds.

While the minimum wage hike polls well, voters don’t have confidence in the economy and believe the country is headed in the wrong direction — a dangerous combination for the party holding the White House.

On top of that, Democrats historically don’t turn out as well for midterm elections as Republicans, and the party in the Oval Office generally fares badly in a president’s sixth year.

Senior Democrats have also acknowledged that they need to embrace the positives in ObamaCare, even though the law is no more popular than it was when the party got soundly defeated in 2010.

“We’ll put forward our plans on jobs and the economy. Republicans can keep talking about the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “And we’ll see where we go. We think the Affordable Care Act is an important part of economic security.”

With that in mind, some Democratic aides have said they are concerned the populist economic message is too “small ball,” as one put it, and that focusing on issues like immigration reform might do a better job of exciting voters.

“The populist message was so much easier when you had a villain like Romney,” the aide said about the 2012 nominee, a former private equity executive worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Democrats are seeking other avenues to sharpen their message. Reid and other party leaders have increasingly trained their fire on Charles and David Koch, the industrialist billionaire brothers who fund a range of conservative causes.

Democrats are casting the Kochs — and the GOP, by extension — as actively working against the middle class, though some have also speculated those efforts are aimed as much at ginning up fundraising as anything else.

Republicans fully scoff at the Democratic message, and their chances this November.

Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told The Hill that the current Democratic efforts miss the mark on the two important issues for the midterms — the healthcare law and jobs. The Congressional Budget Office has said the minimum wage hike would cost around 500,000 jobs, though it also said the proposal would help many more workers.

As for the Democratic focus on the Kochs, “I don’t understand their strategy,” Moran said.

Some question whether enough voters know about the Kochs for their demonization to be effective politics. A new George Washington University Battleground poll found that about half of likely voters don’t know who the Kochs are.

Matt Bennett of Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank, said the party should put a greater emphasis on growth and opportunity for the middle class, rather than an income inequality message he says doesn’t resonate.

“When you think about what middle-class families are struggling with, it’s that a middle-class wage doesn’t buy a middle-class life anymore,” said Bennett. “That’s really at the heart of what people are worried about.”

But Markos Moulitsas, a grassroots progressive who has been sparring for months with Third Way, said people understand income inequality “at the gut level and feel it every day,” and that the Koch brothers were a crucial part of that message.

Even so, Moulitsas, who also writes a column for The Hill, acknowledged that 2014 might not be the year for Democrats.

“Will this message be enough to overcome off-year Democratic base turnout woes?” Moulitsas told The Hill in an email. “Who knows? But it’s the right message for the Democratic Party. And it’s the message that will deliver ultimate victory in 2016.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; Health/Medicine; Politics
KEYWORDS: 2014election; 2016election; alaska; arkansas; chrisvanhollen; economy; election2014; election2016; harryreid; jerrymoran; jobs; justinbarasky; kansas; kayhagan; kochbrothers; lameduck; louisiana; markbegich; markosmoulitsas; markpryor; maryland; marylandrieu; mattbennett; nevada; northcarolina; obama; thirdway

1 posted on 03/26/2014 5:22:02 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: All
Yoo, hoo, Dummycrats----can you say "we're gonna get clobbered?"

============================================

STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE As far back as 2008, at the presidential debate in Nashville, Democrat candidate Obama advanced his signature healthcare plan---ultimately enacted, by an historic straight Democrat party-line vote, into the "Affordable Care Act"

QUOTING 2008 OBAMA: "No. 1, let me just repeat, if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it. All I’m going to do is help you to lower the premiums on it. You’ll still have choice of doctor.” Repeated over and over ---- with the promise that every American family would be saving $2500.00 on healthcare costs.

Significantly, Obamba NEVER corrected lock-stepping Democrats, all reading from the same Democrat talking points, all of them repeating the same Democrat promises---over and over again.

LOCK-STEPPING PARTY LOYALTY NOT SEEN SINCE 1930-40's ERA EUROPE Obama And The Dems marched in lockstep. The persistent Dumbocrat drumbeat ---- in obeisance to Obama ---- kept ringing reassuringly in our ears: "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

2 posted on 03/26/2014 5:35:31 AM PDT by Liz
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I wonder if we are at a point where people are waking up and realizing that there is no Santa Claus and that all the “free stuff” Obama and the Dems have been promising actually cost the entire country (not just “the rich”) a fortune that we can’t pay.


3 posted on 03/26/2014 5:36:43 AM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I know a man who runs a flooring business. He already pays $10/hour. He has used dozens of workers. His first question is, do you have a driver’s license? (That’s to find out if he has to go pick them up so they can work as the bulk of his workers have had their driver’s license suspended for DUI.) He only has one employee who does a good day’s work and he doesn’t have to ride. But that guy lives over an hour away and is often unavailable because he can find $12/hr closer to home.

But, here’s his biggest problem. His work is mostly commercial and he does it on weekends when businesses are closed. If he pays them daily, like they demand, they won’t show up the next day as they’re drunk, stoned or hung over...

If they raised the rate to $15/hour the people he is forced to use would work even less. (Assuming alcohol and crack prices don’t go up too.)

I would imagine that if his business was steadier he could hire good workers. But sometimes six months goes by with very little work. Then he’ll be swamped for three months and he’ll even deal with people he has to watch so they don’t go to sleep on the floor.


4 posted on 03/26/2014 5:36:50 AM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Such positive indicators would normally embolden the opposition to capitalize on the incumbents’ weaknesses by offering offer stark contrasts to unpopular policies. Unfortunately, the GOP is further moderating its positions, diminishing the contrast and dampening its own momentum. As the country looks for a difference, the GOP offers a little less of the same. The GOP elite are very smart people, so the Government–advancing intent of its strategy must be deliberate.


5 posted on 03/26/2014 5:44:08 AM PDT by Always A Marine
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To: All
Democrats face gale force political headwinds: dissatisfaction in their own ranks, struggling voters live with a dismal economy, belief that Obama is dragging the country in the wrong direction (a surefire losing combination at the polls). Democrats acknowledge that they need to embrace ObamaCare's positives, even though ACA is seen as a bigger failure now than it was when the party got soundly defeated in 2010.

When Fla Republican David Jolly defeated Dummy Alex Sink, Dem leaders explained away the outcome by arguing that Republicans had a 13-point turnout advantage.......but the Dum-Dums failed to mention...................

PELOSI THE MAGIC VOTE-GETTER --- FOR REPUBLICANS Seems that invoking "Pelosi" was a vote-getter......for Republicans....(cackle).

National Journal reported Repub strategists had measured which messages were most effectively persuading voters to turn in their ballots.

<><> In Jolly's race, they turned to a message—delivered across a variety of digital platforms and email—that focused on urging Repubs to vote now or watch Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi move one step closer to reclaiming the speaker's gavel.<><>

Never thought I would---but ya gotta love them Obama-hating Dems.

Posted At DU: “the ACA says insurance companies cannot deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. But they can--and do-- deny coverage for life-saving meds to treat p/e conditions. the ACA exchange I'm signed up w/ just denied coverage for my wife's multiple sclerosis meds. We're “covered,” to the tune of $700 a month...just not for what she really needs. FU, Mr. President, you piece of sh** used-car salesman.“From my heart and soul, FU.”

(Sign) those sentiments are so, so sweet.

=====================================================================

HE'S FALLEN AND HE CANT GET UP (CACKLE) Obomba's Achilles Heel is the disappearing lock-step support he once had from Democrats.

FACTOID Seven Dems helped Repubs defeat Obamba's choice for the DOJ Civil Rights Division---nom was a cheerleader for the crazies defending a cop-killer. FACTOID Dems are now lining up to defeat Obomba's gun control worshipper for Surgeon General....even w/ Harry's vaunted nuclear option.

6 posted on 03/26/2014 5:44:30 AM PDT by Liz
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

ONE MESSAGE will allow the GOP to have a landslide election win in 2014 - a united message that appeals to ALL MERICANS.

It’s the ECONOMY stupid. People simply cannot get jobs. Those that have them, many of whom are discontent with their current employer simply cannot get hired elsewhere. Those without jobs are extremely frustrated. The youth are basically at 20% unemployment.

The Obama near constant recession and lack of opportunity should be the unifying GOP message. All the other important stuff can be number 2,3 4.


7 posted on 03/26/2014 5:53:01 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Democrats are casting the Kochs — and the GOP, by extension — as actively working against the middle class,

The Koch brothers are not on the ballot. Just as it's not very effective for the GOP to run against Soros, it won't be effective for Rats to run against the Kochs.

8 posted on 03/26/2014 5:53:32 AM PDT by randita
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The die has been cast. Every year since 2009 is worse for Democats than the last. And, truth be told, it’s worse for all americans as well. And it grows exponentially. If he miraculously stays in office until January of 2017, this country will not survive.


9 posted on 03/26/2014 5:55:19 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

This country will survive, it has already survived much worse than Obama.


10 posted on 03/26/2014 5:56:19 AM PDT by CityCenter (Resist Obamacare!)
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To: CityCenter

This country will survive, it has already survived much worse than Obama.


Well, technically, I think it will survive in the same way that France survived the French revolution.


11 posted on 03/26/2014 5:57:09 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: Liz
LOCK-STEPPING PARTY LOYALTY NOT SEEN SINCE 1930-40's ERA EUROPE

I think the correct term would be "goose-stepping".

12 posted on 03/26/2014 5:58:25 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I hope the elections will go down ticket, especially in Connecticut, Vermont and other blue states.


13 posted on 03/26/2014 6:05:30 AM PDT by ExCTCitizen (I'm ExCTCitizen and I approve this reply. If it does offend Libs, I'm NOT sorry...)
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To: Fresh Wind

Heh——well, we don’t want to get t-o-o-o-o specific.


14 posted on 03/26/2014 6:11:20 AM PDT by Liz
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To: cuban leaf

The French didn’t have our Constitution. It is our ace in the whole. Plus, we’re Americans.


15 posted on 03/26/2014 6:15:55 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: All
Mmmmmm.....Republicans taking over the Senate opens up some delicious options.

Let's give Harry a brand new office ....in the Capitol's sub-basement, next to the furnace. Harry'll just love his brand-new cardboard desk (some assembly required). Although I hear phone service isn't hooked up down there yet. Too bad. Harry can always use smoke signals (from the handy furnace) to communicate.

And give 'ol Harry a comfortable desk chair---and tell him not to
worry about all those silly electrical switches laying around.


16 posted on 03/26/2014 6:16:13 AM PDT by Liz
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The French didn’t have our Constitution. It is our ace in the whole.


It’s not working out for us all that well lately.


17 posted on 03/26/2014 6:40:47 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

This article reads like an advertising strategy. No real change to the democrats agenda...just polishing the road apple.


18 posted on 03/26/2014 7:18:45 AM PDT by kidd
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Socialism always fails, always.


19 posted on 03/26/2014 8:45:05 AM PDT by VRWC For Truth (Roberts has perverted the Constitution)
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To: cuban leaf

What’s “not working” is the people who are in places of power.

WE the People need to fix that.

The Constitution still stands and will “work” when men and women of good moral character represent us in government.


20 posted on 03/26/2014 8:56:13 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The Constitution still stands and will “work” when men and women of good moral character represent us in government.


I agree. Good luck with that.


21 posted on 03/26/2014 8:57:56 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

Thanks. We certainly need it. ;^)


22 posted on 03/26/2014 9:03:18 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Stupid democrats. They have been used. Obama will sidestep them also.

He is a dicktator.


23 posted on 03/26/2014 9:08:30 AM PDT by right way right (America has embraced the suck of Freedumb.)
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To: cuban leaf

I think the civil war was probably the worst event this country survived. No one can predict the future, but we should be encourage that people like Ted Cruz are out there fighting for us. We only lose our country if we give up.


24 posted on 03/26/2014 9:09:40 AM PDT by CityCenter (Resist Obamacare!)
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To: CityCenter

We were a different country with different character back in the mid 19th century

I fall back on this:

Where would the early church have been if they had put their faith in Rome? Countries have to run their course. This one had a pretty good run. It has rotted from within and the “huns” know they have until January of 2017 to make their move. And I have no doubt they will make that move.


25 posted on 03/26/2014 9:18:31 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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