On Thursday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., gave a 51-minute, 15 and a half minute speech entitled "The Rise and Potential Fall of the Tea Party: the Fundamental Flaw in the Tea Party's Premise and What Democrats Can Do to Exploit It," at the progressive think tank Center for American Progress.
While he covered a lot of ground, one takeaway was government is good, but government's not perfect. And one big point Schumer made was that private and public sector screw-ups should be treated equally in public scorn.
"When a CSX train derails creating a horrible explosion, do we say let's shrink or abolish CSX or end all railroads?" Schumer asked. "When Target's data is breached, do we say let's shrink or even abolish Target, or get rid of discount stores?"
The aim of the tea party, of course, is to shrink government smaller and smaller.
Schumer said that Democrats should acknowledge mistakes when mistakes are made.
"It is hardly a perfect enterprise," Schumer said. "But we should compare how we treat private sector mistakes and how the tea party and its messengers treat government foibles."
Schumer also said that former President Bill Clinton was a big government guy, but no Democrat has been able to give a hug and a squeeze to government since the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
"We have been quiet, defensive and even ashamed of our view," Schumer said.
That is the No. 1 thing that needs to change. "We must stop playing defense and go on offense when it comes to the need for government," Schumer said. "We must state loudly and repeatedly that we believe government is often a necessary force for good."