Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003  

Who's on message?

Trying to drive home my point here about the importance of the Democrats developing a coherent message, I offer the following (from the Post):

"Bush took another preemptive strike yesterday during a speech in Albuquerque when he told a small-business audience, 'Oh, you'll hear the talk about how this plan only helps the rich people. That's just typical Washington, D.C., political rhetoric, is what that is. That's just empty rhetoric.'

But much of the rhetoric on the issue has actually been the president's -- and polls suggest it has worked.... Peter R. Orszag, a Brookings Institution economist and critic of White House tax policy, gave Bush credit for what he called 'a spin job' that used selective examples of lower-income families to convince many lower- and middle-income Americans that they have a stake in the tax cut's passage. Last week, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans now think the tax cuts are 'a good idea,' an increase of 10 percentage points in two weeks.

To me, this is a perfect example of how the President constantly remains on message and the Democrats, lacking their own vision, remain on (his) message as well. Bush has successfully sold America on the idea that these tax cuts will benefit everyone. Never mind that this is refuted by all available data and nearly every economist in the country (including Greenspan). He's successful because the Dems lined up behind him on the first tax cut, granting him the argument: tax cuts are great. So now, when the President offers more tax cuts, the Democrats are in a weak position--they've already granted the argument that tax cuts are good, they have no vision of their own, and can only offer griping complaints. Of course polls are favoring Bush.

Until the Democrats offer their own vision, Bush will remain on message, and the hangdog Democrats will trail behind, "yeah butting" their way to yet another failure.

posted by Jeff | 9:42 AM |
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