With Congress set to break for its lengthy August recess, Democratic strategists have formulated a summer strategy to try to make the most of the interlude on Capitol Hill.
In a six-week, phased messaging campaign, Democrats will continue to hammer the Republican agenda as one that seeks a return to failed Bush-era policies, as well as pressure the GOP to provide more concrete details of specific agenda points and how they would work.
"The pressure is going to be on Republicans to explain what they would do if they were given back the keys to the car," a Democratic aide told The Hill, using rhetoric similar to an Obama speech from March.
"That's something that didn't happen last August," the aide continued, referring to a period when loud, frustrated groups of constituents repeatedly bombarded Democratic legislators at town hall meetings over the ongoing debate over health care reform.
The Hill reports:
Democrats will highlight a specific theme each week of the recess. The first will be the party's "Make it in America" manufacturing initiative, followed by Social Security, consumer protection, small businesses, troops and veterans, and jobs and the economy. The party is trying to brand its agenda as one centered around "fighting for the middle class."
Republicans were quick to downplay the potential effectiveness of the strategy, claiming that large sections of the public are already disenchanted with Democrats due to the poor state of the economy.
"Even if House Democrats choose to confront their constituents this August, they aren't likely to find a receptive audience to this desperate 'strategy' to distract voters from their job-killing economic policies," NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay told The Hill. "Republican candidates will continue listening to the concerns of American taxpayers and talking about their solutions to getting our economy moving again."
On top of continually lagging employment numbers, Democrats may also take flak from constituents upset with the party's failure to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, as well as their recent scrapping of a climate change and energy reform bill.
"If the base doesn't show up that's a problem," Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told Talking Points Memo at Netroots Nation over the weekend. "We can't forget the engines that drove these voters to the polls in 2008. If there are dire consequences it's because we didn't do enough, not because we did too much."
The Democrats' decision to spotlight the Republicans seeming lack of a well-defined agenda -- besides the GOP's plan to thwart Democratic policy initiatives -- has been heavily developed over the past week.
Following an appearance by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) on NBC's "Meet The Press," the DCCC rolled out a $28 million television ad campaign designed to attack Republicans for their favoring of Bush-era policies.
The DNC also laid out a new line of attack on Monday, uncovering plans to link GOP's so-called fiscal conservatism to the RNC's well-documented lack of discretion in matters of spending.
While Democrats' continue to detail this new messaging campaign designed to force Republicans to provide their constituents with an agenda beyond their opposition of their more-liberal counterparts, the GOP, however, appears to be increasingly willing to rely on the "Party of No" branding to provide them electoral victories in November.
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