"Six for '06"

Yesterday I reported the impending launch of the Democrats’ new “100 Days” campaign leading up the the November 7 elections. Today, the Democrats announced a new plan, “Six for ’06.” Evidently both initiatives tie in with the “New Direction for America” manifesto that accompanied the 100 Days announcement. If you are counting, that is three cheeky slogans so far. With this recent prodigious output from the DNC, one can only imagine what tomorrow will bring.

The newest member of the trifecta, “Six for ’06,” stands for the six major issue groupings the Dems will be hammering on this fall; they are as follows (courtesy of CNN):

National security

Jobs and wages

Energy independence

Affordable health care

Retirement security

College access for all

The common theme throughout these discussions will be attacks on President Bush. The “Democrats insist most of this year’s campaigns — 75 percent — will be a referendum on President Bush,” according to the CNN article. That should come as no surprise as common as it is to hear Democrats denouncing Bush and Republicans in Congress (and on rare occasions, rightly so, to be fair) while providing no clear alternatives from their camp. To see this in another context, compare the two party websites, GOP.org and democrats.org. Only one reference is made to Democrats on the GOP homepage, while on the Democrats’ homepage I counted 16 links to GOP-bashing articles. At some point, after the 75 percent Bush-bashing is done, Democrats will have to be quite astute in utilising the remaining 25 percent of the campaign energy they have alloted themselves to articulate their solutions.

In this legislative session, the Republicans have been their own worst enemy.They have failed to pass corruption reform agenda even as corruption involving key Republicans (and Democrats)coninues to be exposed. They have failed to act decisively on immigration, citing the wide disparity between the House and Senate versions of the bill. They also waffled embarassingly on renewing the Voting Rights Act. And that is only to name a few. In sum, the Republicans have done everything they can to diminish their own credibility with the American voter.

And yet, while the Democrats could seize the opportunity to pummel a faltering GOP, it fights to not fall apart itself. Only now with the earth-shattering “New Direction for America” has the DNC finally tried to outline a cohesive platform for the fall. But the party is still in disarray. National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Nick said from the GOP standpoint that the Dems are “flailing in their desperate attempt to demonstrate that they have a plan and are unified. Their plan is really to raise taxes, increase spending and weaken important tools that protect Americans in the war against terror.” There is some merit to the adage that “it all starts at the top;” and if we look at the head of the DNC, we find a leader in Howard Dean that flip-flops on issues depending upon his audience while making the odd crazy comment such as his statement this week calling the Iraqi prime minister Al-Maliki an “anti-Semite.” The one-time presidential hopeful who made campaign blogs famous now runs a party whose website projects an uncomfortable mix of a groovy, activist, juvenile spirit that tries vainly to contain itself within the realms of a more traditional level of decorum. No better is its media campaign, with its confusing jumble of new slogans and credos.

The Republicans should really be feeling the heat as November approaches, but one does not get the sense that they feel threatened. And why should they? The Democrats are blowing a golden opportunity through their own failure to create a clear, solid, united front in the fight to take back congress. One gets the impression that the Democrats feel like underdogs in the fight, even though polls show them as clear favorites. A telling event took place this afternoon as the Democrats worked to roll out the new campaign. CNN reports that “At a meeting with reporters at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee headquarters, Democratic leaders unveiled a Web video with clips of the president saying ‘stay the course’ interspersed with graphics such as ‘gas prices at an all time high.’They played the video on a small laptop in the front of the room full of reporters because, they said, they couldn’t find a screen projector.”

Indeed, if the Dems want control of the House and Senate, they must develop solutions to the problems they perceive are evident with the Republican congress. They must articulate, then, these agendae. And they must be united. Because it will take more than a passel of lame slogans to charm th American voters.