After Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts last night, let me offer some advice for The White House and Democratic leadership. The Brody File will provide some visual reinforcement.
Don’t do this:
Go buy this:
Look, The White House obviously gets the anger when it comes to the economic/job component of this equation. But the danger here for this administration is that they seem to be blowing off the big government part of this anger puzzle. This is NOT simply about the fact that the economy is not doing so hot and people are worried about their jobs. Yes that is PART of it but you can't stop there.
Here's the deal: Independents are clearly turned off by big government spending. Every poll indicates this. This White House has pushed for bailouts, billions in stimulus money and major healthcare reform. While the intention of The White House may have been to create a more sustainable economic climate, Independents are saying wait a minute. This is way too much spending. This is way too much government intervention. The Republican Party got away from their fiscal restraint roots and Independents sent them a very clear message in 2006 and 2008. The Democrats are hearing it in 2010 but it may end up being a whole lot worse because President Obama is making no apologies for pushing more of a big government agenda. He believes his policies are right for the country but Independents are not sold.
So far the tendency by this White House and the Democratic Party is to pretty much blow off these tea parties and the townhall protests this summer. But here's a news flash for you: you know who's showing up at those tea parties? Independents! That's right. Independents who care about too much big government and fiscal discipline. It's not just a bunch of conservatives. The Democrats can blow it these events off by saying the tea parties are made up of a bunch of Glenn Beck followers but that would be a big mistake. An even bigger mistake is to chalk voter anger up to tough economic times. It goes way beyond that.
Maybe Democratic Senator Evan Bayh says it best:
“There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this. … If you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up. … The only way we are able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals and progressives making common cause with independents and moderates. Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Democratic party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country, that’s not going to work too well.”