How can Democrats hope to beat Republicans this year? By running against imaginary enemies, which is exactly what they’re doing.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls on America’s generic ballot preference has Republicans up by 6.8 points. The last Gallup poll had Republicans up by 12 to 17 points, depending on turnout. President Obama’s approval numbers are negative, though Americans still like him personally, which indicates that his agenda, not his personality or skin color, is what’s driving voters into the open arms of Republicans.
Democrats can’t run on their record because voters hate it, so they are trying to portray Republicans as pawns of mysterious, sinister forces.
When Obama last week accused the United States Chamber of Commerce of being foreign-funded, he wasn’t just randomly spouting gibberish. He was executing part of a national party strategy to cast doubt on the loyalty of Republicans. Obama’s claim was merely a variation on a theme.
The president warned that “special interest groups that are spending unlimited amounts of money all on attack ads, and they don’t disclose who’s behind them. Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources. So the question for the people of Illinois is: Are you going to let special interests from Wall Street and Washington and maybe places beyond our shores come to this state and tell us who our senator should be?”
That ought to sound familiar. Democrats have been saying it for months. Well, for years actually, but they’re saying little else this year. Obama brought up the usual bogeymen — special interests and Wall Street — while adding “maybe places beyond our shores.” That was a strange formulation, but it sounded the same note as the Democrats’ more common “companies that send jobs overseas” phrasing.
That bogeyman is in use nationwide. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has aired an entire ad devoted to attacking North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Harold Johnson by claiming he pledged to keep tax breaks for “companies that outsource jobs overseas.” The DCCC uses the same false claim against Republican candidates in Maryland, Washington state, New York, and Connecticut. It’s also popping up in Democratic and labor-union ads in U.S. Senate races and the Massachusetts’ governor’s race. It’s completely false, as factcheck.org reported last Friday, but desperate politicians make desperate claims.
With its agenda a complete political disaster, peddling falsehoods and tarring Republicans as pawns of “special interests” is all the Democratic Party has left. And the party is doing it with gusto.
“Ron Johnson has made it clear whose side he’s on –corporate special interests, lobbyists and the Wall Street banks that got us into this economic mess,” Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson last week.
“They want to put special interests back in the driver’s seat in Washington,” President Obama said of Republicans during his Sept. 25th national radio address.
Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen said on Sept. 30 that Democrats should be reelected this fall because they chose “to rein in the power of some of the big corporate special interests who had their sway during the previous eight years.”
Accusing his Republican opponent of supporting millionaires over the middle class, Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota wrote in an op-ed this week, “We need a more balanced approach that puts middle-class interests over Wall Street special interests.”
In his new radio ad for Florida Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, President Obama says, “Kendrick’s been a powerful voice for Floridians, standing up to special interests to hold Wall Street accountable, fighting the insurance industry to make sure that healthcare isn’t denied our children because of a pre-existing condition.”
The attacks are all the same. They don’t go after actual Republican policies. They simply accuse Republicans of being in the pockets of big-money backers from afar.
What’s telling is not just that they’re resorting to such desperate distractions, but that the claims have become more outlandish as the election has drawn closer. The Obama White House went from claiming that Rush Limbaugh led the Republican Party to claiming that Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and mysterious foreigners were bankrolling it to advance their sinister agenda.
But it’s really hard to blame the Democrats for such childish behavior. After all, would you want to run on their record?