Getting on the bus or missing the boat
In the realm of public perception, the Democrats could not give RNC Chairman Michael Steele any more fodder before the Republicans begin their “Fire Pelosi” bus tour:
1. Senator Harry Reid’s comment about how he doesn’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be Republican,” a comment made in the same year where he noted the lack of “Negro dialect” that makes President Obama affable;
2. President Obama’s recent comments on the mosque being built at Ground Zero in New York City, a statement made after weeks of avoiding the issue became the sport of his press secretary, Robert Gibbs. Of course, the president’s comments are causing a presidential backtrack and “clarification” in the media; and
3. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments that unemployment benefits actually stimulate and improve this stagnant economy.
What is worse than the occasional Michael Steele gaffe over the past two years is the increasing number of inexplicable gaffes coming from the Democrats at a time when their majority rule on Capitol Hill is at great risk of coming to an end. Just two years ago, the Democratic Party seemed invincible and capable of running Washington for the next 10 years. Now, it is clear that throughout the nation, Democratic candidates are in trouble of being ousted in a repeat of 1994 due to their actions while in control. However, despite the poor public relations moves from leading Democrats in Washington, Republicans throughout the nation must make sure that they don’t “miss the boat” even as they fire up the “Fire Pelosi” bus in the hopes of firing up their base for the fall.
Even with the mounting levels of disapproval due to the circumstances of key media-attracting Democrats both in office (e.g., President Obama, Senator Reid, and Congresswoman Pelosi) and deposed from office (e.g, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich), Republicans must continue to connect with their base and with independent voters emotionally with issues that hit voters’ common bottom line, not their causal following of pop politics and sound bites. Using poorly-chosen sound bites from Democrats to propagate as rallying points while Republicans reach out to the grassroots for the November election will be an easy temptation to be enamored with, but the political discipline necessary to optimize the electoral opportunity this fall will require that Republicans withstand the temptation to prioritize sound bites over steadily high unemployment rates, still-frozen credit markets, and continued deficit spending – all of which has occurred under the Obama-Reid-Pelosi watch and seems to be without an end in sight without a change in leadership in Congress. Republicans can ill-afford to “miss the boat” on pushing this message in exchange for highlighting mistakes by Democrats, for the GOP has its own bushel of recent mistakes the DNC can target should the Republican message get off-track and – if you will – in the ditch. For once, the high tide lifting the Republican boat must stay on course, raising the issues that matter to the voting public – jobs, economic stability, and national security – rather than merely raising public perception to the latest presidential sound-bite blunder or racist remark from the Democratic senatorial leader.
One way or another, the vehicle for the Republicans’ message for the fall is leaving now that September is right around the corner. If the GOP’s focus during its bus tour and other campaign endeavors stays on “Fire Pelosi” because of job losses and economic woes, there will be plenty of undecided voters that will jump onto this bandwagon by November 2. If not, then Republicans may find out that the ship for overtaking Congressional control may have sailed without them capturing the moment – and if this is the case, they will find that voters will have missed Republicans’ collective point as well.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the author of the upcoming edition of the book, “Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative): The Obama Era, Part I (2008-2010)”. Follow him at www.twitter.com/lennyhhr and on Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/lennyfacebook.