The White House is signalling that they plan to run against Republican obstructionism. If they make this a big issue, it will be a death sentence in the midterm. This dumb strategy should be shut down before it brings down the party.
Only 26% of Americans even know the filibuster takes 60 votes to overcome. Only 32% realize the Senate health care bill did not get any Republican support. If they don’t know that a bill as big as health care reform was passed on a partisan basis, they will never know that about any other bill.
American’s don’t care about or pay attention to procedure or whip counts. They don’t know how Congress works, and the more they learn about how it works the more they hate the people in it. What they know is that the Democrats control everything and are doing nothing. Democrats will be blamed for failing to govern this time around–not Republicans. When Republicans controlled fewer seats in the Senate, they were able to get what they wanted done. No one remembers Republicans whining about how they only had a 55-seat majority.
Running on how the mean old 41 Republicans won’t let the most powerful man in the country do anything sounds childish, petty, and, frankly, like an extremely lame excuse. It makes Democrats look impotent. If you try to tell some person in middle America that Democrats couldn’t pass X because they have only 59 votes in the Senate, instead of 60, they will either laugh at you, call you a liar, or think you a corrupt crook making very pathetic excuses.
Endorsing this “we can’t do anything with just 59 votes” myth will send a clear signal to the American people that it really does not matter who the vote for because electing Democrats still leaves the Republican party in charge.
Whining about non-constitutional procedural rules is not “changing the way Washington works”–it is everything people hate about Washington.
Running on what you have done for the American people might get people to the polls. Running on what you plan to accomplish for the American people next year if they are kind enough to re-elect you might get people to the polls. Running a campaign simply whining about how a tiny minority of mean Republicans in the Senate can use arcane Senate procedures to prevent you from ever delivering on any campaign promise ever will not get people to the polls.
If you make an issue about Republicans’ abuse of the filibuster, you better also be out there demanding the filibuster is eliminated. Never complain about something unless you are talking about how to fix it. That is the difference between being a weak, wimpy, complainer and a tough leader who knows how to fight. No one wants to vote for wimpy complainers who spend all day whining about how the other team refuses to play nice.