Dems Miss The Message -- Even Their Own

I've gotten some more info on how the Dems ended up settling on their soulless, vacuous, and pathetic new slogan, "Together, America Can Do Better." It's a story that says a lot about the current mindset of the party.

Hearing Dem after Dem parrot the inane phrase in recent days, have you, like me, found yourself thinking "That can't be the best slogan they have?!"

Well, it turns out it wasn't.

So here's the story. A message team responsible for developing a unifying new theme for the party had come up with multiple slogans -- including "America Can do Better" (the "Together" was added later) and "A Stronger America Begins at Home" (and variants such as "Security Begins at Home"). Greenberg Quinlan Rosen Research was then hired to try out the competing slogans and see how people reacted.

According to a high-ranking party insider, "A Stronger America Begins at Home" tested 10 point higher than any other entry. So how did the Dems end up going with a losing slogan?

My source tells me that the leadership was afraid that the security-based slogan sounded too isolationist. Too America First. Too Pat Buchanan.

And too strong and spot-on, perhaps? Now, I'm no fan of polling, but if you go to the trouble and considerable expense of asking the people you are trying to reach which message most reaches them, and they tell you, why in the world would you ignore what they told you? Because it didn't match your internationalist view of yourself? And did anybody notice that it says a stronger America begins at home -- it doesn't say it ends there.

Isn't it this kind of dunderheaded thinking that got the Democrats into the position they are in in the first place?

This is, after all, a no-brainer. National security was the big issue in '02 and '04 and will continue to be the big issue in '06, '08 -- and into the foreseeable future. If Democrats can't convince voters that they are better able to deal with the war on terror and their security concerns than the Republicans, they might as well consign themselves to permanent minority party status.

But, instead, the Dems have decided to rally behind the Justin Guarini of slogans -- and, suddenly, the "American Can Do Better" parade is in high gear.

There was Sen. Harry Reid kicking off last week's Democratic Unity event in Washington by saying: "The president may think this entire matter can be swept under the rug or pardoned away, but Democrats know America can do better."

Nancy Pelosi chimed in: "We're going on to present a clear message to the American people that together, America can do better."

Howard Dean on Meet the Press: "The Republicans want to cut $14 billion out of higher education… Together, America can do better than that."

Rep. Raul Grijalva during this weekend's Democratic Hispanic radio address: "America cannot favor big oil companies while leaving our children, the sick and the needy in our nation behind. Together, America can do better."

Another Democratic radio response, this one from Sen. Barbara Mikulski: "We understand that when we elected officials work together, America can do better." And Sen. Deb Stabenow on Monday's Lou Dobbs: "This president basically says to American workers and businesses, 'You're on your own.' We know as Americans we're in it together, and that together America can do better."

Enough! It's not even 2006 and I'm already sick of it!

Of course, there are a few Democrats who, while jumping on the Guarini bandwagon, aren't ready to fully abandon Kelly Clarkson. "Democrats believe that a stronger America begins at home," said Pelosi at the end of last month. "A stronger America begins at home," agreed Mikulski while launching her "military innovation tour."

And then there is Hillary, working both sides of the slogan street. "You know," she said at a press conference on rising winter heating costs, "American can do better. And a strong America begins at home."

Wow. Back-to-back with nary a breath in between. No one hedges like Hillary.


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