Dems Back Off 'Recovery' Stance 04/18 06:59
Election-year memo to Democratic candidates: Don't talk about the economic
recovery. It's a political loser.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Election-year memo to Democratic candidates: Don't talk
about the economic recovery. It's a political loser.
So say Democratic strategists in a blunt declaration that such talk skips
over "how much trouble people are in, and doesn't convince them that
policymakers really understand or are even focusing on the problems they
continue to face."
In addition, Stan Greenberg, James Carville and others wrote that in
head-to-head polling tests the mere mention of the word "recovery" is trumped
by a Republican assertion that the Obama administration has had six years to
get the economy moving and its policies haven't worked.
Coincidentally or not, Democrats have largely shelved the "R'' word.
President Barack Obama's only utterance of it in recent weeks was on April
8, and it was in the context of accusing Republicans of blocking progress on
issues that "would help with the economic recovery and help us grow faster."
Additionally, at a news conference on March 26 where they announced a
campaign-season agenda, neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., nor
most of the other five lawmakers present uttered the word "recovery."
The strategic advice comes at a time Democrats are working to maximize
turnout, particularly among women, for the fall elections, when they face a
determined challenge from Republicans vying to add control of the Senate to
their seemingly secure House majority.
Simultaneously, Democrats are struggling to respond effectively to
persistent Republican attacks on the nation's health care law.
Turnout in midterm elections is customarily lower than in a presidential
campaign. This year numerous polls indicate that Democrats, particularly women,
are less motivated to go to the polls than Republicans who are eager to
demonstrate opposition to "Obamacare," or the Affordable Care Act.
In their memo for Democracy Corps and the Women's Voices Women Vote Action
Fund, the authors propose that to boost turnout among their target groups
Democrats should back an economic agenda that "puts working women first," and
says that incomes are soaring only for CEOs and the top 1 percent of the
"As a start, Democrats should bury any mention of the recovery. That message
was tested ... and it lost to the Republican message championed by Karl Rove,"
By traditional measurements, an economic recovery has been underway since
partway through Obama's first year in office.
The economy was shrinking when he was sworn in but turned positive in the
third quarter of 2009. It has been growing since, although barely so at times.
Unemployment, measured at 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009,
rose to 10 percent in October of that year until it began declining. It now
stands at 6.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the same time, though, many of the jobs that have been created are
lower-paying than the ones that preceded them. Long-term unemployment is at
historically high levels, another factor that does little or nothing to
reassure hard-pressed men and women that any recovery is helping their own
Page Gardner of Women's Voices, listed as a co-author of the memo, said in
an interview that for unmarried women and other key parts of the Democratic
coalition, "a message about the benefits of a recovery doesn't really reflect
their lives currently. The power of the women's economic agenda and talking
about equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave, and messages that go to their
ability to make it themselves and help their families make it is very powerful,
and that's what they want to hear."