The "enthusiasm gap" is for sissies. We don't need pollsters to tell us how we feel. We are angry and frustrated. And I don't mean the average voter. I mean Democrats in Washington.
The stakes are high. And we know they are the highest for those people who are the most frustrated with Washington. The average Jane in America is not going to be helped if the Republicans are in charge. Because she is not the one funneling them all the money they are spending to try and win. Business is not benevolent. Nor are the infamous Koch brothers who want the Republicans to take control so they can end government programs like student loans and social security. Let's just take that as a given -- that their agenda is not the average Jane's agenda.
That being the case, what are Democrats offering? For starters, the acknowledgment that change isn't happening fast enough to make enough people's lives better.
But importantly, we are offering evidence, not rhetoric. And the evidence shows that these last two years have made things better. Job growth is low, but it IS happening -- health care for 30 million uninsured people IS happening -- student loans are cheaper and small business taxes are lower. We must not shy away from our progress because the Republicans are fraudulent in their accusations. And absent in their solutions.
So what is missing? Maybe it's us. For those of us who have been in Washington for years, are we acknowledging how different it is? That over the last two years, access to power HAS shifted and real constituents matter MORE to this White House and the Democratic leadership than the interest groups and lobbyists in Washington? Because it is true. And it has been refreshing.
Lobbying has changed -- and that is a good thing. Now the case to be made isn't about fundraising -- it is about how the claims being peddled affect the average middle class American. When the White House staff look at an issue on behalf of President Obama, they look at it differently than has been done before -- especially in the Bush years. They think of who put them in office and how it helps those people. They don't want to be told that the way to get it done is how it got done before.
The same is true of Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team. This has led many in DC, including plenty of Democrats, to accuse them of arrogance. It isn't arrogant to stay focused on what succeeded during the 2006 and 2008 campaigns when what succeeded was the conviction that in order to push this country out of its crisis, people in Washington had to act differently. Did everything get done that needed to get done? Of course not.
But it won't get done if the Republicans get put in charge. Then it is back to business as usual for the wrong people.
We committed to change. Now let's double down. The stakes couldn't be higher.
Follow Hilary Rosen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hilaryr