I wrote a few days ago that Martha Coakley was likely to lose, particularly if the Democratic Base did not show up. I was partially right, she was likely to lose. Some of the loss is no doubt due to one of the most inept campaigns ever put on for a US Senate race. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that some of this loss is due to things that Obama and the Democrats as a whole are doing or not doing.
President Obama Thinking
The administration appears out of touch with the people of this country. Its all the more amazing that this is so considering they have one of the best communicators in the history of this country as one of their assets in President Obama. Why the administration hasn't had him out doing a modern retread of fireside chats on at least a semi-weekly basis is incomprehensible to me. It's too late to do something like that right now, it would be seen as a desperation move, but something has to be done immediately.
According to one of my mentors, Chet Whye, the administration has 60 days to turn this thing around or we get blown out in the midterm elections and possibly beyond. I think Chet is right. I'm sure the administration is hunkered down right now trying to figure out how things went south so quickly. Hopefully they will figure that out, and come up with a plan to fix things, because what Massachusetts tells us is that not only have we Democrats lost the middle, we are well on our way to completely losing our own base.
Chet, who runs the Harlem4 organization in Manhattan ruefully points out that even when talking with fellow African Americans about Obama, when they used to say "I'm so glad he is our President!" they now say, "I'm glad he's our President, but"". That is how bad things are right now. For the first African American President to start down the road to losing the African American community, that's unfathomably bad.
The President and his administration have to do two things VERY quickly. They have to reach out to all of America in meaningful not superficial ways and convince them that they are in touch with what is happening in the country. At the same time, they have to solidify and re-energize their base. I have a couple of ideas on how to do that:
1. Bring back the CCC or a modern equivalent and put people back to work by any means necessary.
At this point, no amount of talk is going to convince those people out of work that the administration cares about them. Action is required immediately. Hire people to fix up public parks, roads, bridges, anything. Take a page from FDR and give people jobs.
2. Ditch the current Healthcare bill and pass Medicare for all through Reconciliation.
The problem with both iterations of the current Health Care Bill is that NO ONE, and I mean no one LOVES it. Those of us still in favor of it (at least until recently) have defended it by making excuses for it. Fine, it's better than allowing 40,000 people to die each year and countless others suffer with non-covered pre-existing conditions. That is the best we could say about it. That is no longer good enough.
3. Kill DOMA and Don't Ask Don't Tell via Executive Order
It is no longer tolerable that the administration has done little to nothing for the LGBT community. You want to shore up the base (not to mention do the right thing)? The Gay community is an important and sizeable piece of the Democratic base. Do this for them and you will see a huge amount of energy come back, I promise you.
4. Bring some top people into the administration who know how to get things done.
I'm sorry Rahm, et. al, I like you as people, I really do. From outside the administration, I cannot tell for sure who isn't getting it done, but there have to be several for things to have gotten this bad so quickly. If I were President Obama, I would offer someone like a James Carville anything and everything to come in and straighten things out.
5. Fix the DNC.
Yeah, remember them? Another organization filled with people that I like a lot. And they are having no effect on anything. They aren't helping to push legislation, they aren't helping to excite the base, they aren't helping elect anyone. This wasn't true a year ago. There is one simple answer here. BRING BACK HOWARD DEAN. Beg him if you have to in order to get him to come back.
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