Monday, February 9, 2009

Giving Up Control of the Message

Maybe it's just a breather after nearly two years of being engaged in a very tight, well structured campaign for the majority, but Tibbitts is right. Vocal progressives activists in the spotlight for the first time in years dropped the ball on the stimulus message.

It is harder for progressives to admit that their own complacency is a big part of why the economic stimulus bill has not already passed and will not be better for putting Americans back to work and building the green infrastructure we need for tomorrow’s economy. Too many progressives failed to notice that after the elections in November the House is more progressive than the Senate. By failing to notice this important fact these progressives, including Krugman, spent much of the past two weeks complaining about what was wrong with the House bill instead of working to get it passed, unchanged, in the Senate . This failure to unite in support of the House bill allowed the Republicans, led by Rush Limbaugh, to lead the public discussion about the House bill before a bill was introduced in the Senate. A discussion led by Rush is not going to be a progressive conversation.
Obama seems to have taken the lesson to heart, launching a more aggressive media campaign to sell the plan, but progressives Democrats and activists need to realize our own failure to capitalize on opportunities.

I dislike the idea of an all consuming "perpetual campaign" like that of the Bush administration, but it's just politically short sighted to not influence the debate inside the Congress with the bully pulpit of the White House and public approval.

Setting ourselves up with the "bipartisan" traps helps nothing. The debate over economic stability and job creation is a partisan and ideological battle with very real life applications. If we don't own it, they will.

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