One thing I’ve been hearing a lot is the idea that what Democrats really need right now is Repubilcan-style salesmanship and media relations. Here’s Jon Stewart, for example:
“Why is this so hard? Why can’t you guys just stay on message? Remember the Bush team? Little bit of discipline, little bit of repetition. They sold us a WAR nobody wanted and nobody needed.”
Stewart then played a series of clips featuring former President George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney speaking about weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
“Salesmanship!,” Stewart said, after the clip. “Those guys could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. The Democrats, I don’t even think could sell Eskimos BEEP they need — insulation, heating apparatus.”
It’s a silly comparison, of course. Wars are easy to sell. As Goering put it “just tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism.” It’s that simple.
Big domestic programs (other than tax
increases cuts) are nearly impossible. The Bush people went 0-for-2 on big domestic proposals. It’s difficult to turn immigration reform or Social Security privatization into a war against the worst enemy ever.
For all the talk about how Congress did whatever Bush wanted — and they did — he didn’t pass much of import domestically, aside from the big tax cuts (something else that’s always easy to pass) and (EDIT) Medicare Part D, a big corporate give-away (these are also relatively easy to pass). The last president to have success with ambitious domestic policy initiatives was probably LBJ.
Castigating Obama for not being another LBJ seems a little unfair to me.