Come in. Make yourself comfortable. What's that? You are a congressional Democrat? You voted to triple the national debt, destroy a health care system that the overwhelming majority of Americans were happy with in a way that creates a massive and infinitely complex new entitlement, bailout the banks and car companies, and "stimulate" the economy with an $862 billion boondoggle that hasn't created a single private-sector job? Your president is suing the state of Arizona for having the effrontery to enforce a law he wishes not to enforce (though he does have the constitutional responsibility to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed")? The war in Afghanistan is not going well? The president's approval ratings are under water? Congress' approval ratings are running even with Mel Gibson's? Naturally, you're upset.
Relax. Here, wipe your tears. The wizards at the Democratic National Committee have the answer. The strategy is one you may remember from past campaigns. They call it the Great Smoke Blower. Jimmy Carter used it against Reagan in 1980. When things are objectively bad and you can't run on your record, you accuse the Republicans of extremism. Remember? In 1980, inflation was running at 14 percent. Interest rates were about 15 percent. American hostages were paraded on Iranian television. The economy was febrile.
What did they do? They accused Reagan of being a warmonger. They said he would divide north from south, white from black, union from management, and Christian from Jew. They said he would plunge the world into nuclear Armageddon. It was a reprise of the anti-Goldwater effort of 1964.
The newest ad from the DNC seeks to link the Republican Party with the tea party. Flashing faces on the screen, now Rand Paul, now Paul Ryan, now Sharron Angle, now John Boehner, all distinctions are blurred. Then they present the "Republican Tea Party Contract on America" with 10 items. These, they expect, will frighten the heck out of John Q. Public.
Item 1: "Repeal Health Insurance Reform." Item 2: "Privatize Social Security or Get Rid of It." Item 3: "End Medicare as it Presently Exists." Item 4: "Extend the Bush Tax Breaks for the Wealthy and Big Oil." Item 5: "Repeal Wall Street Reform." Item 6: "Protect Those Responsible for the Oil Spill." Item 7: "Abolish the Department of Education." Item 8: "Abolish the Department of Energy." Item 9: "Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency." Item 10: "Repeal the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators)."
Clever, right? Hey, why are you still weeping? Oh, I see. Rasmussen found that as recently as June, 58 percent of voters favor repealing the health care behemoth? So it wouldn't be scary if Republicans actually ran on that item.