A new emphasis has grown in GOP rhetoric of late, one which is both subtle and surprising: anti-corporate populism.
Nothing too extreme (or honest, for that matter), but occasional embellishing digs at "big companies" out to screw the little guy.
The Koch brothers' new ads against Landrieu in Louisiana decry her support for the Affordable Care Act as payback to "big insurance companies," who've given Landrieu "over $35,000." (As opposed to the over $10 million the Kochs will be spending against her this cycle).
'Pubs state and national couch their opposition to Democratic policies as "favoring" one "big" corporate interest over another, whether it's the Obama administrations modest efforts to stimulate energy alternatives or Missouri GOP accusations of favoritism in Gov. Nixon's veto of their beloved tax cut for the rich (that would be, in their words, "average families").
Now, the 'Pubs understand there is simply no way they're going to convince anyone they are the friends of the little guy. That ship has already sailed.
Do you think the Republican Party is most interested in helping the poor, helping the rich or helping the middle class?What they hope to accomplish with this rhetoric is to paint individual Dems as sellouts to "the big guys" in an effort to taint their political chances.
The poor . . . . . . 7%
The middle class . 28%
The rich . . . . . . .51%
Not sure . . . . . . 14%
Do you think the Democratic Party is most interested in helping the poor, helping the rich or helping the middle class
The poor . . . . . 25%
The middle class 27%
The rich . . . . . . 28%
Not sure . . . . . . 20%
This is an interesting and relatively new development in American politics. Whereas once the GOP could be counted on to smear Democrats as "soft on" crime or communism, it is today test-driving an approach utterly counter to its history and nature: we're against big, bad corporations.
And with good cause. a 2011 Pew poll found a staggering 77% of Americans agreeing with the idea that "there is too much power in the hands of the rich." For further evidence of the electorate's views on concentrated wealth, google "Romney, Mitt, 2012 presidential campaign.
Republicans have finally internalized this new psychic landscape and are trying to get what advantage they can from it. But, as their party is welded, in public perception and in reality, to the interests of the very wealthy and the corporations they hide behind, their ability to, um, capitalize on this realization is limited.
Democrats, on the other hand, are traditionally and currently acknowledged as advocates for the average person, not the unduly privileged, a marked advantage in this changed psychic landscape.
And an advantage, shockingly, which Dems refuse to embrace.
Oh, there are limited acknowledgements. The fight over ACA allowed Dems to get in some digs on health insurance companies, and Harry Reid has certainly done pugilist's work on the Kochs, but, on the whole, Dems have been slow to grasp the reality that the average American finally gets that s/he's been screwed and has noted the brand name of the, er, screwing device.
I've got to agree with Lux and others: Democrats' best chances for electoral success this year and beyond lies in freeing their inner Warren, heck, maybe even their inner Huey Long.
Our fellow citizens know the problem and they yearn for leaders who do, too. It's time for Democrats who understand where America stands: better to be a "socialist" than a corporatist.