Dems see an opening — against spending cuts

DEMS SEE AN OPENING — AGAINST SPENDING CUTS…. As part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Drive for 25” campaign, intended to help Dems reclaim their House majority, the party’s new ad campaign is poised to get underway. The DCCC, using a variety of media, is targeting 19 GOP incumbents, nearly all of whom represent districts won by President Obama in 2008.

But at least as important as the effort is the message underscoring the offensive. Greg Sargent took a closer look at how Dems are going after vulnerable Republicans.

Rather than running from the issue [of government spending] — which has obvious perils for Dems, given that Republicans are trying to tar them as Big Government liberals — they are treating this as an argument that can be turned to their advantage, if it’s framed in the right way.

The latest sign of this is the new DCCC radio ad that is targeting multiple House Republicans in targeted districts. The ad attacks Republicans for supporting plans to “cut education” and “cut science and technology research,” defending the latter as the way “we get the new products that create new jobs.”

Crucially, the ad cites specific programs that Republicans would target, and frames the cuts as threats to job creation, an effort to cast Dems as defenders of popular programs and to undercut the GOP case that government spending is inevitably a “job killer.”

This ad comes after Obama’s State of the Union speech, which aggressively doubled down on the role that robust “government investment,” a.k.a. government spending, should play in securing the country’s future.

If Republican rhetoric is to be believed, Democrats are making a horrible mistake. The lesson of the midterms, the GOP insists, is that Americans are desperate for sweeping spending cuts, and will reward policymakers who cater to those demands.

The DCCC isn’t buying — and it shouldn’t. Americans tend to like the idea of slashing spending, right up until they’re asked about specific areas of the budget, at which point most of the country thinks otherwise. Even rank-and-file Republicans aren’t on board with spending cuts to farmers, domestic security, defense, combating poverty, Medicare, education, and Social Security.

It’s why the new push makes a lot of sense, especially with a new House Republican majority that’s so desperate to take an axe to the budget, some in the GOP are even recommending cutting veterans’ benefits.

Dems see an opportunity here, and they’re smart to take advantage of it.