Democrats continue to puzzle over the sea change in American politics that has taken place since annual budget deficits went to thirteen digits rather than twelve. Why do people want the federal government to cut its budget, they wonder? Is it because advocates for Big Government just haven’t personalized spending enough?
A growing chorus of Democratic loyalists argue their party is losing the messaging battle over spending by failing to put a human face on cuts proposed by the GOP.
Instead of shining the spotlight on the programs slashed and the people affected, Democrats have let the debate revolve around the cumulative size of the cuts, the critics charge. That attention to an arbitrary figure — and not the underlying programs on the chopping block — has spun the debate into a fight over numbers that lacks a human element. …
“The challenge for House Democrats is to make the case that programs that are popular and important are being harmed by a bunch of budget-cutting that is reckless,” said former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), now with the lobbying firm of Alston & Bird.
“They have to make it specific and relevant to people, and I don’t think they’ve achieved that objective yet. … Up to this point, I don’t think they have been clear about what their objections are.”
In other words, it’s all a problem of public relations. Democrats need to haul a few more sob stories onto the stage in order to convince people to pay more out of their pockets for government programs. Dammit, get more Sesame Street characters to the Hill stat!
Unfortunately, argument by anecdote stopped working a couple of years ago, when Democrats pushed an 18% expansion in discretionary spending during control of three budget cycles, and especially when Barack Obama’s massive Porkulus program failed to deliver any boost to the economy … except in public-sector jobs. The massive transfers of wealth from the private sector to the federal government has not only failed to improve the economy, it becomes very personal when people see the massive amounts of debt run up by Congress and realize that Americans will have to eventually pay it back.
Anecdotes are all the Democrats have. In fact, that’s all they’ve ever offered in demanding expansion of government bureaucracies, and they’re still at it today. Jackie Speier wants a new federal bureaucracy to track bullies in schools, just to use one example. It’s for the children!! As is, apparently, all the debt that Democrats want to ring up today. That pitch just doesn’t sell any more, and it has nothing to do with the messaging, and everything to do with the fact that most Americans have belatedly recovered their ability to do basic math.