Here’s an interesting article that traces the early efforts by Democratic presidential hopefuls to articulate a winning message for 2006 and 2008:
“Americans don’t want to believe that they are out there on an island all alone,” [John Edwards,] the former North Carolina senator said.This is not a new theme. As first lady, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York wrote, “It Takes a Village,” a book arguing that a community is an important part of a child’s development. Her husband, President Clinton, tried to create a sense of national purpose when he asked Americans to help “build a bridge to the 21st century.”
The difference now is that six of every 10 people tell pollsters that the country is headed on the wrong track. Democrats believe they can put Republicans on the defensive by articulating the public’s sense of malaise and offering hope to erase it.
Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean has commissioned confidential polling and analysis that suggest candidates in 2006 and 2008 should frame their policies — and attacks on Republicans — around the context of community.
It seems to be the emerging message from a party that has been bereft of one.
Community. Sacrifice. Safety. These are important themes that could be woven into a powerful political message. On the other hand, they could also fall flat. In the abstract, they don’t really get me excited. I’d like to see how they are used to frame some key issues, otherwise it just sounds like so much empty fluff.
The one Democratic theme that begins to raise my temperature in a good way is the theme of “sacrifice.” I just don’t know that this is a theme that can really win elections. Americans seem much more ready to vote for politicians that say they can have big government programs, tax cuts, and charge everything on deficit spending for future generations to figure out. Becoming known as the party that says, “the party’s over,” isn’t a surefire recipie for electoral victory.