Eureka! Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has the solution: "The 50 Percent Solution." Schumer is credited, as much as any other man, with putting into place the strategy that regained Democrats control of both houses of Congress.
To build on their midterm gains, Schumer says in the Jan. 29 Newsweek, Dems need a new slogan: catchy, upbeat, positive. Something to match the GOP's diabolical cleverness in 2004, when (according to Schumer), "They figured out specific issues that connected to their deeply held values, defined themselves clearly by those issues and then stood by them unequivocally. In 2004, they did it with eight words: War in Iraq. Cut taxes. No gay marriage." Those eight words, he says, sum up the reasons for George W. Bush's re-election. "What are our eight words?" he asks, meaning "we Democrats."
After all, he admits the Dems' slogan in 2006 was simply "No." As in "No war in Iraq. No corruption. Bad economy."
Searching for the magic eight words, he turned for consolation and advice to his imaginary friends, Joe and Eileen Bailey. No, I'm not making this up. Sen. Schumer actually says this: "Though they are imaginary, I frequently talk to them. To me, they represent the hard-working and often-ignored families who are not tuned in to special-interest newsletters or editorial pages, but want a little something more from their government and their leaders." (Ahem, on behalf of all of Chuck's 19 million fellow constituents: Does the good senator really know no actual hard-working families he might consult, who have the additional advantage of actually existing? And who might (therefore) say something Schumer's brain hasn't already heard?) It takes many years in Washington before a man becomes brave enough to publicly admit that the way he finds out what the American people really want is to consult imaginary voices living in his head. But my goodness, it certainly explains a lot about that town, doesn't it?
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.