2010 CAMPAIGN THEME: GOP CAN’T DRIVE…. For all of President Obama’s above-the-fray rhetoric — congressional Dems have been complaining quite a bit lately that he just doesn’t hammer Republicans enough — he will occasionally put on the Campaigner in Chief hat.

Take last night, for example, when the president spoke at a DCCC fundraiser in New York City. He noted that policymakers are feeling tired after a long session, “particularly because it would have been nice to get a little help from the other side of the aisle, just once in a while. You would have thought at a time of historic crisis that Republican leaders would have been more willing to help us find a way out of this mess — particularly since they created the mess.”

Obama added that cleaning up that mess is no small chore. “We’re not Democrats or Republicans first — we’re Americans first… [W]e got our mops and our brooms out, we’re cleaning stuff out, and they’re sitting there saying, ‘Hold the broom better.’ ‘That’s not how you mop.’ Don’t tell me how to mop. Pick up a mop! Do some work on behalf of the American people to solve some of these problems.

“But that wasn’t their strategy… This is public record. They’ve said in interviews: ‘We made a political decision. We stood nothing to gain from cooperating. We knew things were going to be bad. And we figured, if we didn’t do anything and if it didn’t work out so well, maybe the other side would take the blame.’

“They’ve done their best to gum up the works; to make things look broken; to say no to every single thing. That was the attitude they had when it came to pulling our economy out of a crisis. That was the attitude they had when it came to making sure that families and businesses finally got the security of health care in this country. That’s been the attitude on any number of challenges that we faced. Their basic attitude has been: ‘If the Democrats lose, we win.’

“So after they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back. No! You can’t drive! We don’t want to have to go back into the ditch! We just got the car out! We just got the car out!”

Jon Chat noted: “I think we can see his main political theme for 2010 and 2012 taking shape here: Republicans screwed the country up, Obama got to work fixing it, Republicans took an ultra-partisan stance on every issue, and if you give them power they’ll screw things up again. It’s quite simple, and has the added virtue of being true.”

It’s the kind of message the president may want to use more often, and in venues other than just party fundraisers.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.