(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Charles E. Schumer says Democrats need to have a realistic agenda for demonstrating the importance of government to middle class voters, citing a rather unlikely subject as detracting from that message: health care.
“The policy should be simple and easily explained — can it be grasped almost intuitively as something that will help middle-class families?” Schumer said. “Democratic priorities should be achievable. Yes — they must be easy to message, but they have to be a lot more than messaging bills.”
In recent years, Democrats have held no shortage of such votes in the Senate, on proposals they have no expectation of getting the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles, in part because of persistent Republican opposition.
The messaging chief for Senate Democrats also told an audience at the National Press Club that it was a mistake for Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House to prioritize the overhaul of the health care system the way they did when they controlled both chambers back in 2009 and 2010.
“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform,” Schumer said. “The plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed. But it wasn’t the change we were hired to make.” Full story