After losing the bumper-sticker wars for years, the Blue Team has found an easy way to attack Republicans for a change
In the past few election cycles, Democrats have been victims of their own complicated proposals for social change, and Republicans have been pros at death by soundbite.
Legislation giving illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship was torpedoed by the GOP as "amnesty.'' Health care reforms to cover the uninsured were pilloried as a "government takeover'' or "Obamacare.'' Ending tax cuts begun under then-President George W. Bush amounted to "tax hikes in a recession"--even though Democrats had targeted only the wealthy.
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But in the current debate over Medicare reform, the bumper-sticker slogan belongs to the Democratic Party, not the GOP. The sweeping changes proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will "abolish Medicare,'' Democrats charge. Now, it's the Republicans who are scrambling for a way to justify a massive legislative overhaul in 30 easy-to-understand seconds.
Cue the shrieking.
"It's always easier to attack a proposal that someone else puts forward,'' said Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. "It's always easier to sit back and take potshots.''
Tuesday's victory in New York by Democratic congressional candidate Kathy Hochul, who relentlessly attacked Ryan's plan to give Medicare recipients subsidies to buy private insurance, suggests that the Democratic Party is winning the message war, at least so far. Republicans are acknowledging that they need to get their act together.