Democrats have used a clear and potent attack against Republicans in recent elections: Don’t vote for them because they’ll cut your Social Security and Medicare.
But using that playbook next year, as Democrats had planned, just got a lot more complicated.
President Barack Obama blurred the lines this month when he embraced entitlement cuts of his own as part of his budget plan. And Democrats now fear their leader’s tack to the center could blunt one of their sharpest weapons in the battle for the House of Representatives next year.
The concern is that Republicans will have a ready retort — your own president proposed entitlement cuts — and force Democrats on the defensive. The issue is critical to senior voters, who turn out in disproportionately large numbers in midterm elections.
“I think it does make it more difficult for Democrats in the next election,” said Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, who occupies a swing district in Minnesota. “I would think that Republicans will say this cycle that if you want your Medicare and Social Security cut, that’s what Obama wants to do. … And I imagine that’s what Republicans will campaign on.”
I fear his legacy will be tied to his quest for the Grand Bargain, the elusive holy grail for centrist politicians, and further blur the lines between Repubs and Democrats in the eyes of low info voters.
If House Democratic members want to be very sure to end up on the right side of the Big 3 in 2014, they should all sign the Grayson-Takano letter as the first step to rallying the Democratic base for the upcoming midterm election.