Democrats mistakenly believed there was time to sell their policies to an outraged electorate after losing Massachusetts. Now that the reality has set in the Dems are out of time to sell those policies, Halperin reveals the two-part strategy Democrats adopted to minimize their losses in November:
The two-part scheme was pretty straightforward. First, Democrats planned a number of steps to head off, or at least soften, the anti-Washington, anti-incumbent, anti-Obama sentiment that cost them the Massachusetts seat. Pass health care, and other measures to demonstrate that Democrats could get things done for the middle class; continue to foster those fabled green shoots on the economy, harvesting the positive impact of the massive economic stimulus bill passed early in the Administration; heighten the contrast between the two parties by delivering on Wall Street reform and a campaign-funding law to counteract January's controversial Supreme Court decision. Use all of those elements to contrast the Democrats' policies under Obama with the Republicans' policies under Bush, rather than allow the midterms to be a referendum on the incumbent party.That Democrats thought passing health care would really help them with Independents and the middle class shows how truly out of touch they are with mainstream America. Clearly they missed the message driving Scott Brown's campaign, he was the 41st vote to stop ObamaCare. Whether Democrats misinterpreted or deliberately denied the reality their health care agenda was unpopular is a matter for debate. In either case, the reality appears to have just now hit home that they will have to pay the piper. This means we can expect a lot of part two of the strategy between now and November - prepare for full-scale Democratic mischief making and shenanigans
The second strand of the Democrats' plan was more prosaic and mechanical. Recruit strong candidates for open seats. Leverage the White House and congressional majorities to raise more money than the other side. Make mischief by playing up the divisions between the Tea Party and the more traditional elements of the Republican Party, in part to increase the chances that more extreme, less electable candidates edge out moderates in GOP primary battles. Do extensive opposition research and targeted messaging in the fall to delegitimize Republican candidates in the minds of centrist voters. Coordinate below the radar with labor unions, environmentalists and other allies on get-out-the-vote efforts, focusing on young, nonwhite and first-time voters who came out for Obama in 2008.
I am not sure what positive aspects Democrats hoped to harvest from their massive stimulus bill. Perhaps Sheriff Joe was sent forth yesterday to admit there were mistakes made on stimulus- mistakes naturally lobbed at the feet of the three Republican votes they needed to pass the debacle. I highly doubt, however, the message the stimulus wasn't big enough will sell with the moderate middle that has fled the big spending Democrats in droves.
Nevertheless it appears the RNC correctly assessed the state of affairs behind the scenes in Democratic circles after Robert Gibbs admitted the House was in play. The following video was circulated by the RNC in response to Pelosi's guarantee she would keep her gavel: