On Payroll Tax Cut, Democrats Find their Message

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Analysts on all sides of the political spectrum are calling the payroll tax cut extension a clear win for the Democrats and a significant political loss for the Republicans and their House Speaker, John Boehner. During the debate over extending the payroll tax cut, it appeared that Democrats finally hit their communications stride. For example, check out the above video featuring Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who appeared on December 22 on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” with host Ed Schultz. Here’s what Schumer, who appears at about 2:40, said:

  • “What they (the Republicans) have done this whole year is play brinksmanship and paralysis.”
  • “The American people have pretty good sniffers, and they’re beginning to smell that this Tea Party is extreme, and not really interested in what’s good for America…. They’re basically trying to paralyze government and get nothing done.”
  • “It is true that people are upset with government. But it’s not because it’s doing too much, it’s because it’s doing too little to help them.”
  • The Republicans’ flip-flop over the payroll tax cut, being against it before they were for it, “doesn’t pass the laugh test, and again, the American people sort of saw through that”.
  • “Since September, we (the Democrats) have done a lot better. Why? Well, we have focused on the economy, jobs, and income inequality.”
  • On tax policy, the Democrats “separated the middle class from the millionaires.”
  • “The American people are with us, not with the Republicans, on those issues” (jobs, the economy, and income inequality).

Schumer does so many good things here that it’s hard to keep track:

  • He goes on offense against the Republicans.
  • He equates the Republicans with the “extreme” Tea Party.
  • Schumer makes it clear that Democrats are fighting for “the middle class”, and even calls the payroll tax cut the “middle class payroll tax cut”.
  • Schumer forcefully makes the fundamental argument of the Democratic Party, i.e., that people want the government “to help them”.
  • Schumer mentions the rift between Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Speaker Boehner that was exposed during the payroll tax cut debate.
  • Schumer points out the hypocrisy in the Republicans’ machinations over the payroll tax cut, i.e., that they opposed the tax cut as recently as two weeks ago “because they thought it would help the economy [and thus President Obama] too much”, until they saw how popular it was, then tried to claim that at the last minute they really wanted an even longer one.

In short, Senator Schumer illustrates how Democrats in Congress have learned the same political lesson that President Obama has learned, i.e., that when you fight hard for your principles with words and then match those words with actions, you earn the support of your base, as well as the respect of many others, some of whom may not even agree with your policies.

One Response to On Payroll Tax Cut, Democrats Find their Message
  1. Michael Williams
    January 5, 2012 | 5:57 pm

    Ed you are a sell out for Rick Santorum. The I use to watch your show all the time, but now you talk so much about him that it makes me hate your guts. The You must be a undercover racist

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://messagingmatters.com/2011/12/25/on-payroll-tax-cut-democrats-find-their-message/trackback/