Democrats Must Focus on Unemployment, Not Tea Party Wackos

It’s a little late to be making strategic decisions but Democrats still are arguing about message.

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With only 40 days until the midterm elections, it’s a little late to be making strategic decisions but Democrats still are arguing about message.

There are two options available to Democrats.

Option 1 is to beat up on the candidates of the Party of Tea as a collection of right-wing wackos who are way outside the mainstream of American life. This argument has the virtue of being true and credibility is an important part of a successful message. And God knows there is a lot of evidence to offer. Christine O’Donnell. Do I have to say any more? Sharron Angle. What exactly are those Second Amendment options available to disgruntled conservatives? I could go on and on and on.

[See an Opinion slide show of the 2010 elections’ bad candidates.]

The problem with the wingnut option is it may backfire. Americans are angry at the political establishment and by reminding voters that GOP voters are outside the mainstream, we may be giving them a reason to vote for the Party of Tea candidates. It may be a lot like the presidential campaign in 2008 when John McCain and Hillary Clinton bolstered Barack Obama’s candidacy every time they reminded voters how little time the first-term U.S. senator from Illinois had spent in Washington. [See who donated the most to McCain's campaign.]

Option 2 for Democrats is to run a populist economic campaign against Republicans. The platform that congressional Republicans released today in Virginia is a slash-and-burn budget that will finish off the working working families who started their long decline under previous Republican presidents.

The dirty little GOP secret is the only way they can reach their budget goals and bail out billionaires is to gut Social Security and Medicare. The Republican budget guru, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has said as much. The Democratic message should be that the Party of Tea wants to continue tax breaks for billionaires on the backs of hard working Americans who have paid into Social Security all their lives.

[See who supports Ryan.]

It may be a tired cliché but it never has been more true: It’s the economy, stupid.

  • Check out our editorial cartoons on the Democratic Party.
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  • See a slide show of 11 hot races in November.