Ezra Klein says a record isn't enough. Democrats need a vision statement just like the GOP:
Telling them to look at what Democrats have attempted but failed to pass isn't enough. Voters don't know about the 372 bills the House has passed and the Senate has ignored, or the 44 bills the Senate has passed and the House hasn't acted on. And legislation is not synonymous with vision. Legislation is about what you can get done. It's about compromises with Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. It's about the Senate's calendar. It's about the committee structure. Vision is about what you want to get done, and it's worthwhile for voters to know that, too.
A senior Senate Democratic aide told TPM today there won't be a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts in the upper chamber before the November election....The aide said it's already a winning message without a vote since Obama and Democrats have framed the debate as the Republicans being for the rich and Democrats wanting to help the middle class...."We have a winning message now, why muddy it up with a failed vote, because, of course, Republicans are going to block everything," the aide said.
This is why there won't be a Democratic vision statement of any substance. They don't want to run on their record because they're scared to death of it. Voters hate the stimulus, they hate TARP, they don't care about financial reform, and if they don't exactly hate healthcare reform, they aren't too thrilled with it either. And since Democrats have seemingly given up on fighting back and persuading people that this was all good stuff, a defense of their record is out.
And the future? Well, Republicans have the advantage that they can promise pretty much anything. Sure, you'd have to be pretty gullible to think they're seriously planning to reduce the deficit, but there are plenty of forgetful people out there. They'll believe whatever Republicans say. Democrats, however, can't do this. I mean, what are they going to say? That we need a climate bill, repeal of DADT, more stimulus, and immigration reform? Even a forgetful electorate isn't that forgetful.
And anyway, Dems already have a winning message! Just like the man said. Why, just look at the polls.