The run-up to the 2014 Congressional elections is in full swing. You can be sure that Republicans are sharpening their talking points for the upcoming campaigns. We’ll likely be hearing all about a supposed lackluster economy, tepid employment picture, and that demonic “Obamacare.” Now is the time, therefore, for Democrats and progressives to hone their arguments and talking points to counter those of the Republicans and, better yet, to drive the conversation from the get-go. Here are the three words to use against the Republicans:
“They Did Nothing.” It’s that simple. The Republicans on the economy? “They did nothing.” On jobs? “They did nothing.” Rebuilding America’s crumbling roads and bridges to help businesses move their products? “They did nothing.” Immigration? “They did nothing.” Climate change? “They did nothing.” Bringing American jobs back home instead of shipping them overseas? “They did nothing.” Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill? “They did nothing.”* The list goes on and on. And to be clear, the Democrats must articulate their positive agenda. In fact, President Obama has taken to the road to do just that. Saying the Republicans did nothing only makes sense if Democrats clearly explain what solutions they stand for and on which the Republicans should work, with some compromise and cooperation by both sides.
Surely, you say, Republicans and conservatives will argue that their lawmakers have done something, and we need to be prepared for that defense. Okay, here’s what Republicans in Congress have done: abortion bills. Votes to repeal “Obamacare.” Phony “scandals.” Budgetary hostage taking. Filibustering and blocking even the basic functions of our democracy. That’s during the few days in between their lengthy taxpayer-paid vacations when they’re even in session. And if you want to see what the extreme Republicans (yes, “extreme” should be used frequently to modify “Republican”) do when they have the votes, look no further than Republican-run states like Texas.
So feel free to begin the 2014 election argument. You have a good one to make.
*If you use the phrase out of context, such as on a bumper sticker, simply replace “They” with “Republicans.”