The New York Times is reporting that the Obama Democrats are weighing a bold new ad strategy for the crescendo of the fall campaign. I’ll let the Times describe it (for the record, the White House is denying this):
President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections in the final weeks, are considering a range of ideas, including national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said.
White House and Congressional Democratic strategists are trying to energize dispirited Democratic voters over the coming six weeks, in hopes of limiting the party’s losses and keeping control of the House and Senate. The strategists see openings to exploit after a string of Tea Party successes split Republicans in a number of states, culminating last week with developments that scrambled Senate races in Delaware and Alaska.
When I first read this, it all sounded familiar to me. It took all of 10 seconds to remember why. The Democrats tried this identical tactic last year, and it didn’t work for them (the fact that they did this last year is why I don’t buy their current denial).
Here’s what happened. After the 2009 August recess, the Democrats were reeling when townhall meeting after townhall meeting blew up in their faces. In Texas, for instance, Dem. Rep Lloyd Doggett got caught on camera running away from his constituents at a grocery store in Austin, after they started asking him tough questions about ObamaCare that he didn’t want to answer. I was working for the Republican Party in Texas at the time, and had more than a little fun with Doggett’s cut and run act.
The Texas media asked me quite a bit about all this at the time, since the Democrats were whispering to several reporters that I’d planned it all. The Democrats assumed that all this was planned because that’s how they operate. The truth is, Doggett was but the first of many Democrats to experience real voter outrage at the various crimes against democracy that he and his cohorts were and are guilty of committing.
The Democrats did not do themselves any favors at all with their behavior last August. They talked on the phone while constituents asked questions, they said it’s perfectly fine to jail people who don’t buy health insurance, they banned cameras and dodged constituents, and this year one of them, Democrat Rep. Phil Hare of Illinois, admitted that he doesn’t even care about the Constitution.
After a month of disaster in August 2009, the Democrats decided that rather than listen to citizens’ genuine concerns and outrage, they would call ordinary Americans who were merely seeking their Constitutionally-guaranteed redress of grievances, “mobs.” They even produced a crummy (but helpful, from a Republican point of view) ad to that effect.
Well, on behalf of GOP communications directors, consultants, and Tea Party activists around the country, I hereby request to be thrown back into that briar patch forthwith. When the Democrats decide to go full bore against the Tea Partiers, well, the counterattacks practically write themselves. This is how I countered them a year ago, and it’s more or less how to counter them now.
Every single Democrat who is running away from Obama this year is vulnerable to this type of counterattack now. They all supported Obama’s election, they own his presidency and its tactics, and they own ObamaCare. If their party attacks the Tea Parties again, well, these Democrats will own that too.