Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Democrats Can Claim Fiscal Responsibility for Themselves

Summary: Democrats have an opportunity to turn a core Republican message back on them.

Over the past year or so, Republicans in Washington have been quick to criticize the spending coming out of Congress with the blessing of the Obama Administration.

Knowing full well that most Americans are adverse to deficits (which are now higher than ever before) the GOP is calling Democrats “out of touch” with the average American.

It’s had an impact – Republican Scott Brown won his Senate race in the liberal Mecca of Massachusetts in part by criticizing Washington’s spending habits. Defeats like this, in turn, have made Democrats dispirited.

In many places, it’s already primary season for 2010. So if you’re a Democratic candidate, and you need to motivate the base, what do you say?

For starters, the Republican National Committee has demonstrated itself to be anything but fiscally responsible lately.

Last year, the RNC managed to burn through a whopping $95 million despite the fact that they were only supporting about four competitive races. They ended 2009 with just under $9 million cash-on-hand. These spending habits have caused their donors some concern – especially because of how much better the DNC has been doing – and RNC operatives have been frantically trying to reassure their contributers.

Knowing that they were having money troubles, where did the RNC decide to have its Winter strategy meeting? A beachside resort in Hawaii, with the best food, entertainment, and recreation that money can buy. Literally.

From a segment on last night’s episode of the Daily Show:

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RNC Meeting in Hawaii
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With weeks – and in most cases months – before the primaries, it’s not really worth anyone’s time to make this point a panicle one for your campaign message.

But as Democratic candidates are locating activists and donors, this message is a great way to engage them. An email blast to supporters criticizing the Republicans for trying to make fiscal responsibility their issue – when they’ve proven to be so fiscally irresponsible – is a great way to bring in some small contributions right now.

This is a good message for this part of the campaign because it gives the base a reason to fight.

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