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Summertime 2010

A Commentary by Tony Blankley

With apologies to George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward and their 1935 classic song, "Summertime" (and the living is easy):

And the living is queasy
Taxes jumpin'
And foreclosures are high
Your daddy's broke
And your ma's suicidal
But hush, little voters
Don't you cry
One of these elections
You're going to rise up screaming
Then you'll blame George Bush
And give us a bye
An' after that election
There'll be nothin' can help you
With your Democratic daddy
Still standing on high
That would seem to catch the bizarrely self-righteous tone of the message that is being offered to the voters this summer by the Democratic Party (and their little media helpmates). The Democrats have settled on their message: If you hate what we've given you -- just wait 'cause there's more where that came from. And anyway, it's Bush's fault.

According to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the reason the Democratic Party is trailing in the polls is because the voters are "sour" and reluctant to award Democrats for their legislative success.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., attributed her sagging approval rating to voters who are "grumpy" about the sputtering economy. (I suppose there is nothing to the line going around Washington that in an effort to help Boxer hold her California Senate seat, the White House is going to rename the San Andreas Fault "Bush's fault")

Vice President Biden, on the Democratic Party's "summer of recovery" national tour three weeks ago, blamed the lack of recovery (go figure! Announcing lack of recovery while on a recovery tour?) on the continuing effects of the "Bush recession."

While on NBC's "Today" show (known in the West Wing as the "home court"), the VP was asked if the administration had done enough to address unemployment. To that puzzler, the VP responded "it doesn't matter" (because of all those jobs Bush lost).

Then, thinking better of his response, he corrected himself: "(I)t matters, but it's not enough." Not only does the VP not seem to be ready for prime time -- he doesn't seem to be ready for morning time.

It was about then that former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder (D) suggested that it might be best if Biden and Hillary Clinton switch jobs in 2012, presumably so that Biden can do for our international vital interests what he is currently doing for the president's domestic political interests.

But, not withstanding the VP's misfires, the Democrats seem to like their anti-Bush message.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  was asked if there was a limit to how long Democrats could blame Bush, her stunningly fatuous response was: "Well, it runs out when the problems go away." Oh, for the days when President John Kennedy, after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, took personal responsibility, saying, "As president, I am the responsible officer of government."

But the Democrats seem to be quite sure that Pelosi's approach to leadership will appeal to the common man and woman of 2010. At the DCCC website, small donors are enticed to make their little contributions with the following irresistible offer:

"Team Pelosi Tote Bag. There is still time to claim one of the limited number of Team Pelosi tote bags designed exclusively by Diane Von Furstenberg. Best of all, every dollar will be used to support Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats under attack this year." Diane Von Furstenberg? What is it with the Democrats: First a Spanish holiday, and now a Belgian high fashionista tote bag. How about a tote bag from Sears or Macy's? (I know, it's all made in China; but one could at least make a sentimental gesture to the good old USA.)

But more fundamentally, one has to wonder about the soundness of the Democratic Party's central message to the voters: Don't vote to return to the "failed policies of the past."

With President Obama in the Gallup polls going from a high of 68 percent job approval to his current 43 percent; with the confidence that the country is on the right track going from a high in June '09 of 45 percent right track-45 percent wrong track to its current 61 percent-32 percent wrong track; with the generic ballot measuring the public's plan to vote Republican or Democratic for Congress going from pro-Democrats by 48 percent to 34 percent to pro-Republican by 46 percent-41 percent -- an unprecedentedly swift swing to the GOP -- one wonders whether, with time passing on, as it does, the admonition that the voters not vote for the "failed policies of the past" might fail to be understood as a request to vote Democratic.

Perhaps they should just spit it out: Vote Democratic for more of the same.

Tony Blankley is executive vice president of Edelman public relations in Washington.


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