Democratic chief says voters will chose between a party of results and a party of obstruction

By Philip Elliott, AP
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dem chairman lays out voters’ choice for fall

WASHINGTON — Democrats plan to portray Republicans as obstructionists while calling themselves “the Results Party,” chairman Tim Kaine said Wednesday in what he acknowledged will be a difficult political year for Democrats.

The Democratic National Committee chief planned to describe the strategy to supporters at party headquarters during a motivational meeting for voters who turned out in droves to elect President Barack Obama but who may stay home this midterm election year. Democrats fear that the elections could become a referendum on Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress and are working to ensure that 2008’s first-time voters cast ballots.

“So, although we know it stands to be a tough year for us based on history, we like the story we have to tell about our accomplishments and a Republican Party that lacks any vision but a desire to obstruct progress and appease lobbyists and others who have benefited from a status quo that has harmed everyday Americans,” Kaine said in prepared remarks.

Democrats are certain to use financial regulatory legislation as an example. For the third time in three days, Democratic leaders failed to get the necessary votes to move the bill forward as unified Republicans thwarted their effort.

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said Kaine’s November strategy “smacks of desperation as it has become increasingly clear Democrats have lost the independents who will be the deciding voice this fall.” He also mocked Kaine’s “Results Party” branding.

“Under President Obama and congressional Democrats, the only people who have seen ‘results’ are the labor unions and special interests that funded their campaigns, while everyday Americans feel that they have been shut out of the democratic process,” Steele said.

The party that controls the White House typically loses House seats during midterm elections, and Democrats are bracing for losses. Yet they also plan to campaign on their record — and direct some $20 million to Democratic campaign committees while spending an additional $30 million on field programs and advertising — in an attempt to promote themselves as “the Results Party.”

“Voters will have a clear choice between continued progress and a return to the failed policies that created the biggest period of economic decline since the Great Depression,” Kaine said.

The economic crisis looms over the November elections, when 37 governorships, 36 Senate seats and the entire 435-member House are at stake. Although the economy has seen improvements, 15 million Americans remain out of work and most economic forecasts suggest it could be months or even years before the nation’s unemployment rate falls.

Against that backdrop, Kaine said Republicans have “decided to go all-in on a strategy of fighting against the president.”

Republicans have stood in almost unified opposition to Obama’s agenda, stopping or slowing progress on legislation that would cut greenhouse gas emissions and add new regulations for Wall Street. Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts won a special election to take over the late Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat on the promise that he would be a roadblock against Obama, and other GOP candidates are looking at that as a winning model.

Even so, Kaine’s complaints of obstructionism alone could ring hollow with some voters as Democrats have hefty majorities in the House and Senate. He sought to highlight Democrats’ accomplishments and focused on economic recovery, health care overhaul, improved international relations and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

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