Thursday, February 16, 2017

Returning the Country to the People Scorecard - A Proposed Weekly Democratic Leadership Press Conference/Program

Donald Trump promised the American people that he would return the country back into their hands.  His cabinet appointments, however, show clearly that he is doing just the opposite.  

It’s not so much that his appointments are either billionaires or extremely rich.  It’s that, like so many in their class today, they have no interest in protecting or advancing the welfare of the average American.  Their interest is either cutting government spending or, in the case of Betsy DeVos, gutting public schools, regardless of who that harms, or removing regulations that are necessary to protect the average person from corporate predation. These are all people who have shown that they are actually antagonistic to the mission of the departments they head.  He has put the foxes in charge of the hen house.

Democrats need to find a mechanism for keeping this betrayal by the President and Republicans in Congress of his commitment to the people front and center for the duration of his presidency.  To this end, I propose that Democrats hold a weekly press conference/program to detail the President’s and Congressional Republican actions that betray that commitment or are otherwise harmful to the average American

There is precedent for this tactic.  Back in the early 60s, when the Republican minority debated how they could maintain their influence at a time of Democratic dominance, they came up with the idea of a weekly leadership press conference.  It may sound dull on paper, but what became the Ev Dirksen/Charlie Halleck program provided the Republican minority a weekly national forum during the 60s.  The program was widely respected and quoted both by network news programs and the print media.

By virtue of their leadership positions, two of the people who would take part in the proposed press conference are of course Senator Schumer and Representative Pelosi.  However, because they represent New York and California, I recommend adding to the press conference roster a senator and representative from the heartland.

The makeup of the participants is very important.  The point of the program is to try and reach the people who voted for Trump.  Which means breaking through the alternative facts that they will be fed and their blind faith in the man.  Having two exemplars of the bi-coastal liberal establishment host the press conference would defeat the whole purpose.

The format of the program is very important too.   It should not just consist of talking heads.  Instead, the information should be presented in a conversation format.   And no snide or belittling comments should be made.  As the saying goes, “The facts, ma’m, just the facts.”  Points need to be made clearly; demeaning comments actually distract from the message.

The confirmation process that the Senate is currently going through provides an excellent starting point for highlighting that betrayal and the part that Congressional Republicans are playing in that betrayal.  And for matters like the House Republicans voting to remove restriction on mountain-top removal and stream protection, it provides an opportunity to discuss just who benefits from this.  Will this really save jobs or just enrich the mining companies?

I strongly urge the leadership to entertain this idea and move forward with it.