Interesting critique from a Democratic Party insider – while I don’t hope the Democrats remain strong in 2010 elections, I do think the advice he gives to get back on track is telling.
Mr. Van Dyk was Vice President Hubert Humphrey's assistant in the Johnson White House and active in national Democratic politics over 40 years.
What adjustments should be made?
- Cut back both your proposals and expectations. You made promises about jobs that would be "created and saved" by the stimulus package. Those promises have not held up. You continue to engage in hyperbole by claiming that your health-care and energy plans will save tax dollars. Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates otherwise.
It's time to re-examine these initiatives. Could your health plan be scaled back to catastrophic coverage for all -- badly needed by most families, but quite affordable if deductibles are set at the right levels? Should the Rube Goldbergian cap-and-trade proposals be replaced with a simple carbon tax, with proceeds to be allocated to alternative-fuels development?
- Talk less and pick your spots. You are outdoing even Johnson and Mr. Clinton with your daily speeches in the capital and around the country.
Applause and adulation are gratifying. But the more you talk, the less weight your words will hold. Let voters see you at your desk, conferring with serious people about serious matters. When you do choose to talk, people will understand that it's important and they should listen.
- Conform your 2009 politics to your 2008 statements. During your campaign, you called for bipartisanship and bridge-building. You promised to reduce the influence of single-issue and single-interest groups in the policy process. Yet, in your public statements, you keep using President Bush as a scapegoat.