Grab a mop

GRAB A MOP…. It was an unusually good metaphor. President Obama delivered a speech in San Francisco last week, appearing at a DNC fundraising reception. He covered a lot of ground, but there was one section that stood out. This afternoon, it apparently became the basis for a nice little press stunt.

In his remarks, the president explained his support for a two-party system, where “ideas are tested and assumptions are challenged.” He added, “But what I reject is when some folks decide to sit on the sidelines and root for failure on health care or on energy or on our economy. What I reject is when some folks say we should go back to the past policies when it was those very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

“Another way of putting it is when, you know, I’m busy and Nancy’s busy with our mop cleaning up somebody else’s mess, we don’t want somebody sitting back saying, ‘You’re not holding the mop the right way.’ Why don’t you grab a mop, why don’t you help clean up? ‘You’re not mopping fast enough.’ ‘That’s a socialist mop.’ Grab a mop — let’s get to work.”

Andrew Sullivan noted, “It’s an inspired three-word challenge to the GOP. Devastating, actually — because it both reminds people of the damage the GOP did while not seeming to dwell on the past or to score partisan points (while actually doing both).”

With that in mind, the DNC sent out a press release this afternoon, explaining that a group of concerned volunteers will “deliver mops to the Republican National Committee headquarters and ask Republicans to pitch in and help clean up the mess they’ve made over the last eight years.”

The release added, “Last week, the President suggested that rather than simply saying ‘no’ to efforts to help put the country back on the right track, the GOP should ‘grab a mop’ and help clean up the mess we’re in to move the country forward. Today, supporters will ask Chairman Steele and the Republican Party to take the President’s advice: either grab a mop and help clean up the mess, or get out of the way.”

As press stunts go, this sounds like a pretty good idea. In fact, I’m a little surprised Democrats in general haven’t picked up on this metaphor, incorporating it into party talking points. Maybe I’ve missed it, but Dems could use this in a variety of applications. The party’s never been especially good at message discipline, but the “mop vs. mess” frame seems pretty compelling to me.