The Jobs Slog
Clift, Eleanor, Newsweek
Byline: Eleanor Clift
For the democrats, there's no escaping last Friday's gloomy jobs report, the final Labor Department numbers that will be released before the November elections. So what's a party with ownership over an epically bad economy to do to limit losses? The plan, it appears, is to adopt a lemonade-from-lemons approach.
Initially, Democrats tried nationalizing the issue: whom do you want governing in tough times--the party fighting for the middle class or the party fighting for Wall Street? But focus groups conducted for Democratic congressional campaigns found that broadly addressing the bleak news doesn't resonate; people are more eager to cast a vote against government spending than against corporate greed. Attempts to find a bogeyman were also unsuccessful. Invoking George W. Bush as a villain has outlived its usefulness, and the party hasn't been able to pin the downturn on others in the GOP. (House Minority Leader John Boehner didn't register. Some Democrats thought Bush consigliere Karl Rove was the perfect target for his affiliation with a nonprofit that's anonymously funneling millions of dollars to midterm races, but he had name-recognition problems, too.)
The idea now is to "make the alternative unacceptable," says Democratic Senate Campaign Committee spokesman Eric Schultz, by focusing on candidates who support policies that, he says, undermine workers. …