by Scott Shields, Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 10:45:13 AM EST
We hear from so many Democrats -- quite often elected Democrats playing pundit -- that the party's problem is that people care first and foremost about national security and they don't like what they hear from Democrats. For too long, that's been the conventional wisdom. And such conventional wisdom leads to certain Democrats saying patently silly things like, "we need to talk tough about national security, and I will do that... in six months." So I really hope that everyone's paying attention to the signs indicating that the conventional wisdom has been overturned.
The AFL-CIO blog and Georgia10 point to a some new Gallup polling showing that Americans' top three concerns, in order, are access to healthcare, Social Security, and "availability and affordability of energy."Polling Report has the full results, which show people are more concerned about kitchen table issues than personally being attacked by terrorists. It's interesting to me that the poll did not include the war in Iraq as one of the "problems facing the country." Had it been included and a majority of those polled counted it among their top concerns, I think the results would still be good for Democrats. But aside from the civil war in Iraq, Americans seem to be incredibly uneasy with the direction of the country, and on the issues that concern them most, they've already rejected the Republicans.
Matt Singer at PLAN has an interesting and somewhat post praising former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber for his timing in launching his healthcare reform campaign, The Archimedes Movement. Many have seen Kitzhaber's campaign as the likely beginning to a 2008 Presidential run. With Joe Trippi on board as an adviser, that may well be true. But he's also a doctor, so it's clearly an issue he's legitimately interested in.
It's not as if I'm advocating an abdication of national security as an issue we should campaign on. What I'm saying is that Democrats need to act like winners on every issue. Even the Republican pollsters at Rasmussen acknowledge that Americans trust Congressional Democrats on national security matters more than they do the President. And I think when it comes to the Democrats' newly released national security document, we ought to focus more on the 'redeploy, eliminate Bin Laden' message and less on the specifics.
I guess my ultimate point here is that if Democrats act like they're on the defensive, it leads people to question their position. Look at what a little bit of stubborn cockiness has done for the Republicans over the years. The people are with us. That doesn't mean that we now rest on our laurels and coast to November. But acting like winners and showing a little confidence would certainly not be a bad thing for the Democrats right about now.