Truth be told, the Republicans have been hiding in plain sight. They have formed a relentless phalanx of do-nothingness regarding helping the country out of its economic doldrums, and have calculated that most people just won’t believe their lying eyes. In Congress, in the more than 400 days since the midterm elections, the Republicans have voted down at least 42 Democratic program proposals that would have created an estimated 7.2 million jobs, and their alternative has been the passage of exactly 0 job-creation bills to help stave off the current economic downturn, instead choosing to promise more pie in the sky activity if the American public returns them to the presidency.

You have to give them credit–they’ve got gall aplenty, and their PR machinery seems to be working magic in overdrive. The Demos have not been able to outmuscle the Republican fog machine. Hopefully, this week’s Democratic Convention will do a better job of selling the Democrats’ accomplishments and plan of forward action. The Democrats need to come out swinging for the fences and leave no holds barred. The Republicans thrive in confusion and amorphousness; the Democrats have to re-seed the garden of specificity.

Just as examples, the Republicans have voted down proposals to end government contracts to companies that ship American jobs overseas, and a proposal to focus on re-building America’s infrastructure of schools, hospitals, transit systems and highways (a measure recommended by a multitude of American businesses, the construction industry, mayors and governors).

There should be no expectation of a serendipitous change in such behavior. An Obama re-election without an accompanying change in the makeup of Congress, particularly in the House, may just be a recipe for more American heartache and more bad news for African Americans. We should elect people who really are interested in taking this country forward, rather than those hung up on ideological opposition to individuals in government and on upholding their written pledges to an unelected Grover Norquist.

The Republicans also denied a proposal to provide more training and job benefits for veterans, and another to create the necessary tools to monitor and correct unfair currency manipulation from countries like China. The latter would help level the international commercial playing field for American businesses. Additionally, the Ryan budget, if passed in its present form, is estimated to destroy between 2-3 million American jobs in less than five years.

Why then are the Democrats having so much trouble distancing themselves from the Republican gamesmanship? Clearly, just doing good works in politics does not count if one cannot get the public to hear about such accomplishments. Where is the super Democratic PR entity? It’s not what one says that moves people, but what one does and what one gets reported.

At the Democratic Convention this week, the Democrats must accomplish the following things:

  • * Clarify the high points of achievement for the last three years
  • * Explain clearly why the economic path to recovery we’re on is the correct one to stay on
  • * Clarify the confusion over ObamaCare. Tell the story of why it is so good for America
  • * Explain what promises could not be kept this time around, and those that were
  • * Expose the Republican chicanery regarding the economic recovery
  • * Definitively distance themselves from the Republicans regarding the women’s vote

The Democrats can win this, but they must play their A-game all the rest of the way through Nov. 6. Otherwise, backwards wins and we’ll all be worse off, Blacks, Whites, Browns together in the pickle.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.


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