Rachel Maddow Urges Democrats to Grow a Pair

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On her program tonight, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow urged Democrats to get their act together and stop campaigning in fear. Maddow argued that Democrats can win based on their accomplishments, “Imagine what it would look like if they started to campaign on the actual accomplishments they accomplished.” In short, Democrats need to grow a pair.

Here is the video from MSNBC:

Maddow explained how Republicans have convinced Democrats that health reform is bad, “According to the common beltway wisdom for this year’s elections health reform is supposed to be an awful thing Democrats must run away from, an awful, terrible burden Democrats sad he would themselves with, an albatross that will sink them on Election Day, run away fast. Whenever the President mentions health care on the stump, he does so to huge applause. Other Democrats like Russ Feingold have started running ads on health care reform and it polls really, really well. How is it the common wisdom Democrats have to run away from it? It’s the common wisdom because Republicans have tried to make it that. Trying to keep as many Democrats silent about health care reform as possible.”

Later she urged Democrats to actually run on their successes and accomplishments, the TARP, health reform, and the stimulus, “Instead of denigrating them as swear words, instead of running away from them in the election year, imagine what it would look like if they started to campaign on the actual accomplishments they accomplished, on the good things that big Democratic supported programs have done, things like TARP and the stimulus. What would that look like? not only for the crop of Democratic candidates against Republicans trying to get away with characterizations of these programs that don’t contain the facts, what would it look like when Democrats campaigned on what they were capable of doing when policy made sense. What would that look like? There are 29 days left to find out.”

Rachel Maddow is the first person to ask the question, how did the Republicans convince the Democrats not to run on all of their accomplishments? In fact, it is even worse than that, Republicans have managed to convince Democrats that their successes are actually failures. This might actually be big news if Republicans hadn’t been using this strategy for the last 30 years. In every contested election that the Democrats have lost since the Reagan era, you can trace their defeat back to the GOP’s success in framing Democratic accomplishments as failure.

The most notable recent examples of this strategy occurred in 2000 and 2004. In 2000, Karl Rove was able to convince Al Gore’s presidential campaign that despite a high approval rating, Bill Clinton was a liability. Gore bought into the Republican framing of Clinton as a liability, and ran away from both the Clinton/Gore record, and Bill Clinton himself. The result was that Gore became the first modern candidate and the first candidate since 1888, to win the popular vote, but not the presidency.

In 2004, John Kerry won the Democratic nomination and was all set to run a campaign based on his military experience, but a little bit of swiftboating later and Kerry was not only defending his military record, but opening running away from it by the end of the campaign. As in 2000, the result was the same. George W. Bush won another close election. Maddow is correct. Democrats have a strong record of accomplishments, and with the exception of Republicans, their achievements have grown in popularity over time. By not running on what they have accomplished, Democratic candidates all across the country are allowing elections to be contested devoid of issues. This is a landscape that heavily favors the ideology over issues GOP candidates.

Democrats could learn a lesson from both Obama and their fellow Democratic candidates who are having success this year. Democrats who transform themselves into Republican lite by running away from their own party are setting themselves up for huge defeats. The way to beat the Teapublicans is to make them talk about issues.

This is a group of extremist Republican candidates, who are hoping to hide just how out of step they are with the country, but Democrats can’t be satisfied with exposing weak Republican candidates, they must also present a sensible alternative to the non agenda of the GOP. In order to present that alternative, Democrats must embrace their record, not hide from it. Maddow is right. There is no reason for Democrats to be afraid. They should embrace their record and shift the playing field away from ideological fantasy and back to reality. Democrats only stand to lose by embracing the GOP frame. The path to victory for Democrats involves acting like Democrats.

36 Replies to “Rachel Maddow Urges Democrats to Grow a Pair”

  1. Damn straight. In order for a team to be successful, they need not only a good defense, but a good offense. The Republicans only have the latter, the Democrats only the former. Further, the enthusiasm gap is easily explained by this as well, because folks can only cheer for so long before the team needs to score some dazzling touchdowns or goals. Take some risks, toss the ball deep.

    Of course the reality to the situation is that progressive Democrats *have* made some good points in a variety of fields. The first step of health care reform was accomplished. We have begun nuclear disarmament talks with our former Cold War adversaries. Wall St. has begun to be reformed. The withdrawal process has started from Iraq and soon will in Afghanistan. Etc.

    Toot your own horn Democrats. Fight back, you are not perfect, but you are FAR better than the alternative, you just need to speak out and remind folks of that.

  2. Rachel is right again. And it’s true that the Democrats seem unwilling to crow about their own accomplishments. What is there to be embarrassed about? That’s what I like about Obama, coming out and updating us on what he has accomplished, including 70% of his promises two years into his term of office. We need the rest of the Democrats to jump up and do the same.

  3. Madcow, like Olbermann, is a very low-watched individual on TV. Here are the numbers in a snapshot:

    7PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
    The Fox Report w/ Shep – 1,571,000 viewers (328,000) (697,000)
    John King USA – 369,000 viewers (90,000) (137,000)
    Hardball w/ C. Matthews – 645,000 viewers (139,000) (295,000)
    Kudlow Report– a scratch w/116,000 viewers (a scratch w/20,000) (a scratch w/34,000)
    Issues – 252,000 viewers (85,000) (178,000)

    8PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
    The O’Reilly Factor– 2,571,000 viewers (590,000) (1,213,000)
    Sanjay Gupta Reports –290,000 viewers (75,000) (135,000)
    Countdown w/ K. Olbermann – 1,100,000 viewers (265,000) (524,000)
    The Apprentice – 184,000 viewers (a scratch w/ 48,000) (103,000)
    Nancy Grace – 528,000 viewers (128,000) (260,000)

    9 PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
    Hannity–1,972,000 viewers (417,000) (856,000)
    Larry King Live —390,000 viewers (127,000) (167,000)
    Rachel Maddow Show —1,025,000 viewers (331,000) (546,000)
    Bio: Henry Ford – 166,000 viewers (a scratch w/50,000) (93,000)
    Joy Behar – 350,000 viewers (65,000) (114,000)

    source: http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/10/04/cable-news-ratings-for-friday-october-1-2010/66499

    Fox certainly beats the left wing shows handily. Wonder why??

  4. Just because something is more popular doesn’t mean it’s positive. In fact, Rachel Maddow’s show is increasing in popularity for the right reason. She tells the unvarnished truth even when it’s unpleasant, and she is right that the Democrats have nothing to run away from. It’s vitally important that they not keep allowing the Party of No to dominate the narrative, as they will only operate from their skewed reality.

  5. Ever looked at the demographics on some of these shows?

    For example, let’s take YOU.
    You probably don’t get 2/3 of what Rachel Maddow has to say. You obviously do not think or process information.
    Also too, we all know Rachel is a lesbian – which explains YOUR specific anti-Maddow stance.

    So let’s see in one day, you have tried to savage a woman with an I.Q. approximately 200 points HIGHER than you, and called Black Americans Parasites.

    Who have you left out?
    What demographic will you attack next?

    Let’s see..how do you feel about the Jews?

  6. And she is smart and scary – and openly GAY. That scares the pants off of the TightyWhitie Repukes.

    On the flip side, THEY are running a witch for office – who screwed her date on a bloody sacrificial altar?

    I don’t even care who watches Rachel, I do because I like her and she is so smart she can educate with humor.

    Smart must really be a HUGE Glenn Beck fan, so he MUST be a Mormon because if he isn’t, he’s gonna be in BIG trouble during the End Times

  7. Smarg – for a troll, you are not very imaginative. NO ONE CARES that fewer people watch Rachel Maddow (except for you obviously).
    She is bright, talented and politically astute. She is funny – clever – and we like her.
    Do you honestly choose to watch TV based upon what the tv ratings say? Or do you watch what you LIKE?
    Do you have a job? No seriously – do you work at anything? Do you volunteer? Do you raise funds for a charity? Do you HELP people? Do you donate to causes? Did you volunteer in Haiti?
    Do you do anything worthwhile in YOUR life??
    I’m just curious because the DENSENESS in your posts is so stunning.

  8. Wow, I got TWO replies from Basheert! Relax. This is all debate.

    You are also dead wrong. I said that entitlement programs caused Blacks to become parasitic on taxpayers. The stats prove this right: the overwhelming majority of the recipients of USDA Food Stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, WIC cards, free hospital ER visits and Medicaid, free public school breakfasts and lunches, and Section 8 housing are Black.

    Also, the overwhelming majority of state and Federal prisoners are Black.

    So, do statistics lie, or are they racist, too, Basheert?

  9. “Imagine what it would look like if they started to campaign on the actual accomplishments they accomplished.
    Theres a reason they haven’t done that. Cause they haven’t accomplished jack shit.

  10. This is not about growing a pair except if you are talking about the folks being re-elected. It is more about motivation. Democrats traditionally have less motivation even though their numbers are much larger. Remember, if you keep appealing to the downtrodden, you will get the depressed, the wary, the scared and not the screaming mad lunatics demanding justice.

    It is very admirable and noble to help those in need, but they are far less energetic about fighting for you, because they were not that energetic about fighting for themselves in the first place.

    If your supporters number in the millions, but they stay home, and the opposition’s supporters number in the thousands, but they are burning a path to your door, you will cower in fear, too!

  11. Narcissist much? You think god talks to you special like?

    God told me he loves the gay. It’s in the bible. Look it up.

  12. Uh. You made a WHOLE lot of positive assertions. No backing fact.

    “Later she urged Democrats to actually run on their successes and accomplishments, the TARP, health reform, and the stimulus”

    Those are successes and accomplishments? By what measure? No one likes TARP. It was a phenomonally bad bi-partisan idea that showed how little the people really matter. Banks frequently give to both sides.

    Was it a wonder it was bi-partisan?

    Health reform is a win? Not so far.

    This isn’t the worst piece of journalism I’ve ever seen, but it’s damn close. But then again, integrity in journalism is as dead as the US Constitution. Just apologists and liars for both sides.

  13. If the Democrats ran on their accomplishments? The majority of the people in this country hate what they accomplished. Maybe Democrats should change their party name to cluelesscrats.

  14. Rachel’s right–grow a pair and be proud of your ‘democratic’ achievements, Democrats–especially the health care bill, TARP, and the stimulus plan, as a lot of Americans *really respect* these acts of Congress.

    You’re almost making this too easy for we conservatives/Republicans :).

  15. All the wonderful things that Democrats have recently accomplished…yeah. Like the notable increase in the national debt? Like promoting the growth of a welfare state? Like passing a healthcare reform containing unknown content? Like placing more power and control in the hands of the federal government while taking it away from American citizens?

    Maybe “technically” they’ve accomplished their goals, but at what expense?

  16. Damn straight. In order for a team to be successful, they need not only a good defense, but a good offense. The Republicans only have the latter, the Democrats only the former. Further, the enthusiasm gap is easily explained by this as well, because folks can only cheer for so long before the team needs to score some dazzling touchdowns or goals. Take some risks, toss the ball deep.

  17. Part of the problem is it’s simply easier to get your base riled up when the other party is in power. Why do you think all this famous political commentators never run for office? It’s easier to be a back seat driver than to be in the driver’s seat.

  18. One of the most productive congressional sessions in history. Despite every effort to thwart President Obama and congress by the Troglodyte right wing. Progress ain’t cheap and it ain’t easy. When the other side has any decent ideas other than “no” and tax cuts for rich bastards then I’ll be ready to listen. Until then the right can wallow in all their untraceable donations from their rich “greed is good” pals and just buy the next election. Then they can crow about how the people have spoken.

  19. those comments are totally off base. the correct frame of mind to look at statistics related to those things you mentioned are that they are POOR not that they are black. if black people were wealthy and white people were instead the ones dominating low-income neighborhoods it would be the same situation just with white people.

  20. Mark, those “poor” who live in Section 8 housing have expensive cars, cell phones, and most are obese.

    I’m guessing that you’re one of those rich White progressives who lives in a gated neighborhood, attended and sends their children to private schools. Heck, our own hypocrite President does it, so why not you?? Har!!

  21. Smarg, I am really simple, so you might have to use small words, but what do TV ratings have to do with this topic?

    I only ask ’cause I keep hearing that SpongeBob kills Fox news.

  22. Hopefully, a Republican congress can reverse the socialist silliness of the last two years. America woke up from the hopey-changey nightmare to realize it was all from an empty suit.

  23. @smarg

    You obviously suffer from little dog syndrome. Another internet tough guy who shows how stupid they are by their lack of intelligent discourse.

    Remember to speak up when taking orders at the drive through. Your customers have problems hearing you through the drool and mouth breathing.

    Do you have anything worthwhile to say other than your dick is chaffed from diddling yourself too much?

  24. Geeze. don’t you guys get any new material in your daily tpm?

    Like, every single one of you have been saying that for a day now and then smirking like you’re so clever. Read this thread even. Hello new dawn, Smarg.

    Liberals aboard: do not appreciate verbal recycling.

  25. you overestimate smarg. I am sure he is on government assistance like all good tea baggers screaming about socialism.

  26. I love when they attack her for being a lesbian..its all they have. Here is a little history lesson for you Fox viewers..Dr. Maddows:

    A graduate of Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley, Maddow earned a degree in public policy from Stanford University in 1994.[14] At graduation she was awarded the John Gardner Fellowship. She was also the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and began her postgraduate study in 1995 at Lincoln College, Oxford. In 2001, she earned a Doctorate in Philosophy (DPhil) in politics from Oxford University.

    Thats right Hannity viewers, she went to Stanford, Oxford, is a rhodes scholar and is a Dr. or Politics. You guys have beck, a high school graduate. But hey, Beck has great ratings!

  27. I firmly believe that people who hear voices (like Son of Sam who stated in court, that his neighbor’s dog was God and would tell him what to do), need to be medicated …

  28. Democrats, Republicans, what difference does it make, they all work for the Jews’ new world order only, not America or the American people.

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