The Moose warns Democrats of the audacious '06 GOP strategy.
On Wednesday, Michael Steele, the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and Republican Senate candidate revealed a message that may be repeated in campaigns across America next year.
The Washington Post reported,
"Steele described Washington as a city in paralysis, where politicians "blame each other for our lack of a long-term energy policy" and where, "for too long, one party worried more about prices in the stock market than prices in the corner market."
"It was a pox-on-both-your-houses approach, blaming Democrats for preaching reconciliation "at the same time they practiced division."
"If the speech is any indication, Steele's campaign will avoid highlighting his social conservatism and his longtime ties to national Republican politics and politicians -- he is antiabortion, has served on the Republican National Committee's executive committee, and his first fundraiser was headlined by White House adviser Karl Rove."
Now, keep in mind this is a message delivered by a Republican candidate. While the GOP controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches - Republican candidates, particularly non-incumbents, may be running against the mess in Washington (that was created by their party).
If indictments happen, expect Republicans to attempt to put an ocean of distance between themselves and the Bushie/DeLayicans. They will suddenly connect with their inner T.R. This approach strains credulity but reality has never presented an obstacle to the current Republican crowd.
Democrats must beat the Republicans to the punch to the outsider message. Rather than striking a partisan theme, the appeal must be targeted to independent and even disaffected Republican voters. If indictments come, the Democratic Party must be a gloat free zone. Americans will be fed up with all of Washington regardless of party designation. Country must come before party. Fiscal responsibility, reform and competence should be central pillars of of the message.
Democrats must be progressives of the mind as well as the heart. Fortunately, some serious thinking is underway. David Broder comments in today's Washington Post,
"What has been harder to discern is what the opposition Democrats would actually do to remedy the situation that may well confront them if their party comes back to power in the 2008 election. The other day, the thinking branch of the opposition -- centered these days in the Democratic Leadership Council and its allied organizations -- offered at least the start of a response.
"At a panel headed by the DLC's chairman, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, the answer that emerged was: Strike a bipartisan bargain that would involve some short-term tax increases in return for long-term savings on entitlement programs and improvements in the administration of government."
This is not a partisan moment - and the party that recognizes that reality will reap political gain. Democrats can't just expect that good fortune will fall in their laps because of GOP woes. And by now, the donkey should know that the elephant has an ability to make chicken salad out of chicken waste.