While the national Chamber of Commerce’s negative ads may be irresponsible, at the local level the Chamber is usually viewed as a constructive part of the community, not a villain. A number of moderate and conservative Democrats in the South and Midwest have established good working relationships with their local business communities over the years. Attacking the Chamber of Commerce may actually cost them the support of local Chamber members, who often don’t uniformly follow the line of the national Chamber.
All this risks being a distraction from issues in which Democrats do have traction. As a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman in 1996 and 1998 (both years Democrats gained seats), I have advised Democratic candidates to emphasize the plans of top-ranking Republican Budget Committee member Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to privatize Social Security and Medicare for people younger than 55. Ryan’s proposals are broadly unpopular and, if implemented, are likely to have a direct effect on people who do vote in off-year elections like 2010. There are a lot of votes to be picked up from middle-class voters nearing retirement age if Democrats devote advertising dollars to this issue.
It could be argued that advertising dollars and free media time need to be spent driving these blue-collar, middle-income messages rather than just attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and trying to get young people to vote.
The political operatives around Obama proved they were smarter than everyone else in 2008 by devising and executing a remarkable presidential-year strategy.
I fear they may not have learned, though, that the strategy and dynamics of an off-year election, like 2010, may require a very different approach. MORE...
Thursday, October 14, 2010
"Dems must push blue-collar issues"
Martin Frost (Politico):