We are about to start into silly season — in traditional news days, this was the season when thereÂ wasn’t much going on. This is because across America folks are out of school, on vacation, bar-b-queing, and planning weddings.Â Americans aren’t paying much attention to the news, and shortly there isn’t going to be a lot of news to report –Â Congress will be out of session, and politicos will be on vacation as well.Â
Â In times now gone forever, the hot, lazy days of summer were for stories on UFO investigations, top reporters interviewing psychics, and the yellow press resorting to headlines like this:
“Boy Trapped in Freezer Eats Own Foot to Survive!”
Â Another newsÂ tradition of the beltway crowd is to dump bad or embarrassing news late on a Friday afternoon, in the hopes that something will overwhelm it before Monday. Besides that, American’s don’t much watch the news on weekends –Â it’s a way of downplaying bad things.
So it’s quite telling that the Democratic Leadership dropped their election strategy for ’06 late on a Friday afternoon at the beginning of silly season.
Â The plan fails to address any of the major issues facing America today, or underwhelms when it does try to address a problem. They should frankly be embarrassed, and most likely are. It’s the traditional plan of trying to buy votes from groups who probably aren’t going to vote in a mid-term election anyway.
Their plan, presented at a news conference, included promises to raise the minimum wage, make college tuition tax deductible, eliminate subsidies for oil and gas companies, negotiate lower drug prices for the prescription plan passed last year, increase stem cell research and restore a pay-as-you-go policy for federal budgets.
The Democratic leaders also pledged a 25 percent reduction in oil use by 2020, largely by developing fuel alternatives in the United States. “We want to send our energy money to the Midwest, not the Middle East,” Ms. Pelosi said…
…The Democrats’ declaration comes after two weeks that have reversed a run of bad news for Republicans. The Republicans won a special election in the California Congressional district that both sides saw as a bellwether for November; and a special prosecutor investigating the leak of a C.I.A. operative’s name announced he would not indict Karl Rove…
…And the president’s trip to Iraq and the killing of the Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Masab al-Zarqawi gave Republicans an opportunity to rebut the argument that the war was going badly.
WithÂ the minimum wage provision they are pandering to unions. The provision if enacted would eliminate “starterÂ jobs”, Â encourage illegal immigration, and increase inflation for the the cost of a few votes from Union workers. “Minimum wage earners” are an exceedingly small portiion of the population of wage earners, and as an election ploy this is weak as minimum wage earnersÂ don’t turn out at polls. The other two components of the electorate they are trying to buy with this are already in their camp — that would be labor, and those liberals who want to feel good about themselves by expropriating other people’s money.
Raising the minimum wage would have huge impacts across the economy, most union contracts have riders that give them automatic increases when minimum wages go up, so this certainly would not helpÂ already-reeling American auto industries. By increasing minimum wage you give more money to union workers who already make too much, you eliminate jobs, and since business passes things like this on to consumers, you increase inflation. Nice plan Nancy.
Ending subsidies for oil companies makes for a good sound-bite and plays to the typical Democratic strategy of class warfare while mobilizing some angst over gas-prices. However post-9/11 most americans know that attacking big corporations hurts their savings and retirement plans. They saw the effects when Big Oil, Big Manufacturing, and Big Corporate America took that hit in 2001,Â Americans saw it in the balance of their 401k. Attacking American corporations is a dog that doesn’t hunt anymore with the general public. They all want to retire sometime Harry.
The subsidies they refer to are mostly investment breaks for creating new oil and gasÂ production infrastructure — so right at the time when the US needs new oil infrastructure the most, the Democrats would cut theÂ energy infrastructureÂ investment tax credits andÂ discourage new refineries, drilling, and pipelines. Perhaps the Democrats want to keep us dependent on their good friend Hugo Chavez for our energy future.
The rest of the strategyÂ isn’t strategy, unlike the two above they are bald-faced party tactics to buy votes from particular constituencies.
An energy policy that doesn’t keep us dependent on foreign tyrants for our energy needs might be a good start, their “strategy” is one small tactic copied fromÂ the sweeping energy reform you can find here.
Next time the democrats release a strategy perhaps they ought to look beyond the current news-cycle and the next election, and instead come up with a direction and strategy that isn’t a clump of tired ploys thirty years out-of-date. The Democratic party is soooo last century I don’t think they will ever recover however.