Sen. Harry Reid told reporters last week that it might be true that American voters don't know where Democrats stand, but that they will know by November.
That may be a little too late for undecided voters, which is why both House and Senate Democrats on the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee keep insisting that they have a positive message.
On Thursday, both Democrat campaign committees began touting their election-year plans and policies. Democrats in the Senate intend to go the route of Sen. Russ Feingold, pressing anti-war rhetoric at every turn.
On the House side, DCCC chairman Rahm Emanuel, he of the ballet and Clinton Administration career track, says his candidates will be attacking "rubber stamp Republicans" at a time when Republicans in the House and Senate are anything but. Emanuel thinks so much of the moniker that his staff says that he has trademarked the name "Rubber Stamp Congress." We expect to see it on coffee mugs and T-shirts across the nation.
Emanuel briefed reporters on the DCCC plans last week, and called Republicans "rudderless" and "divided." He refused to discuss his own party's confusion and division, for example on the Feingold censure initiative and his caucus's plans to dump its leadership in January 2007.
"We don't have to have specific policy ideas or positions," says a DCCC staffer. "Rahm is taking a bigger picture approach to our candidates. We'll give them themes to play off of, but we think the best candidates will take those themes and create local issues and initiatives that catch the attention of the specific voting block they are trying to attract."
When asked about running against the war, the staffer said, "That goes without saying, unless they are in a district that tends to run counter to that notion."
So much for tough stands.
On the Senate side, Sen. Harry Reid and his chairman of the DSCC, Sen. Chuck Schumer, continue to press the anti-war rhetoric as key to their success. On Thursday afternoon, Reid took heat from some members for his soft response to Republicans who called Democrat bluffs on a censure vote against President Bush for the NSA overseas terrorist monitoring program.
According to sources with knowledge of the closed-door meeting, Reid pushed back on his colleagues, telling them that it wasn't a good idea to vote to censure anyone with ties to the NSA program, particularly since there was a criminal investigation underway to determine who had leaked the NSA program's specifics, and that investigation could enmesh one or more of their own.