President Obama is set to give a State of the Union address this evening in which he'll say he made "mistakes" in communicating to the American people why health care reform, cap and trade, and a huge increase in social spending is necessary for economic recovery. Which is to say: The White House is not prepared to acknowledge that the public, for substantive reasons, remains opposed to large parts of the Obama agenda.
Rather, the president and Democrats mistakenly assume that if they can only explain things more clearly, the public will rally to their side. This is ostrich-head-in-the-sand politics. Obama has already given speech after speech on the need for "comprehensive health care reform." Those speeches have produced a reform that no one likes and the first Republican elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in more than 35 years. One more speech will make a difference?
Perhaps the DCCC understands that the president's powers of persuasion are extremely limited. After all, the traditional thing for the president's partisans to do after a State of the Union is to flood the cable channels with ringing endorsements of the president's boldness, brilliance, and breathtaking oratory. No doubt some of that will take place tonight; but you can also look forward to another Democratic party attack on the most trusted news organization in America.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a new campaign to respond to the spin from conservative news outlets expected to follow President Obama's State of the Union address.
In a new mailer sent out Wednesday to the committee's four-million member e-mail list, supporters are invited to join the new "State of the Union 'Fact Check FOX' Team."
"This group of Democratic Party activists will stand at the ready to counter the lies and distortions that erupt from the rightwing media and Republican spin doctors like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck following President Obama's State of the Union address on Wednesday night," the e-mail pitch says.
The DCCC is inviting members to send text messages, e-mails or use Facebook or Twitter to fact check the pundits weighing in after the speech.
So: the White House agenda is in disarray, the president's job approval is below 50 percent, the GOP is even or leads in the generic congressional ballot, Republicans are more motivated than they have been in half a dozen years, and the Democratic response ... is to "fact-check" the highest rated cable news network. Again.
The campaign has a transparent purpose: rally the liberal base against a hated enemy. But how well does this work nowadays? Maybe it will fire up the folks in the lefty blogosphere. Maybe it will get MSNBC personalities to stop insulting White House officials. But the lesson of Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts is the Bush / Rove / Palin / Beck / Fox News card does not trump a bad economy and popular outrage at big government politics.