|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
It needs to be re-introduced to the public again - with every single Democratic leader signing on and (here's the kicker) who will all be saying the exact same thing. It needs to clearly explain what it will do and NOT MENTION what it won't (as you see that is a losing marketing idea). Make it clear that all middle class and average Americans will benefit from this - and show them how. Give examples. Use Powerpoint, Lincoln Logs or Barbie Dolls if you want. Make it simple and make it quick. Don't use terms like "public option" or "rationing" or "co-op" any other words that have taken on a life of their own. I am sure your crack White House Chief of Staff can come up with a few choice terms - you pay him enough. Call it health financing reform. Don't go on the stump for it week after week after week. The longer you talk about it, the more likely people (and Rush) will find reasons to hate it.
If the GOP doesn't like it, let them filibuster - that is their constitutional right (80 votes is not). Bring in the coffee, pizza, cots and tapes of Debbie Does Dallas let them have a slumber party in the Senate chambers. And if any Democrat finds the bill distasteful and wants to go public with their criticism (which is their right) - don't threaten but make it clear there will be no support for them for their bills and their re-election. You must, must, must play hardball.
When Establishment Washingtonians of all persuasions gather to support their own, they are not unlike any other small community in the country.
But this particular community happens to be in the nation's capital. And the people in it are the so-called Beltway Insiders -- the high-level members of Congress, policymakers, lawyers, military brass, diplomats and journalists who have a proprietary interest in Washington and identify with it.
They call the capital city their "town."
And their town has been turned upside down.
With some exceptions, the Washington Establishment is outraged by the president's behavior in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The polls show that a majority of Americans do not share that outrage. Around the nation, people are disgusted but want to move on; in Washington, despite Clinton's gains with the budget and the Mideast peace talks, people want some formal acknowledgment that the president's behavior has been unacceptable. They want this, they say, not just for the sake of the community, but for the sake of the country and the presidency as well.
In addition to the polls and surveys, this disconnect between the Washington Establishment and the rest of the country is evident on TV and radio talk shows and in interviews and conversations with more than 100 Washingtonians for this article. The din about the scandal has subsided in the news as politicians and journalists fan out across the country before tomorrow's elections. But in Washington, interest remains high. The reasons are varied, and they intertwine.
1. THIS IS THEIR HOME. This is where they spend their lives, raise their families, participate in community activities, take pride in their surroundings. They feel Washington has been brought into disrepute by the actions of the president.
"It's much more personal here," says pollster Geoff Garin. "This is an affront to their world. It affects the dignity of the place where they live and work. . . . Clinton's behavior is unacceptable. If they did this at the local Elks Club hall in some other community it would be a big cause for concern."
"He came in here and he trashed the place," says Washington Post columnist David Broder, "and it's not his place."
"This is a company town," says retired senator Howard Baker, once Ronald Reagan's chief of staff. "We're up close and personal. The White House is the center around which our city revolves."
The biggest problem that Obama has is this: We don't know who he is. Who are his people? Whom does he surround himself with? Whom does he listen to? Who gives him advice? He's so new to the national political scene that he hasn't had time to choose the team that would be with him in the White House. The more we see him in action, he's still just campaigning. He still has the quality of an unknown. And as attractive and likable as Obama is, we still need references.