Democrats Fail Again at the Art of Understanding Messaging in the Budget Debate

                                         Stock Photo Democratic U.S. Senators

With the clock ticking on an impending government shutdown Democrats, Republicans and the media have been going back and forth over Planned Parenthood riders and an alleged attack on women’s rights. In a press conference led by Sen. Pat Murray (D-WA), female democratic Senators took the time to explain what the funds allocated toward Planned Parenthood are used for. Sen. Mikulski of Maryland proclaimed that the Republicans are choosing to "push a radical agenda against women." The Women of the Democratic Senate met today in the Senate gallery studio to express their disappointment that after weeks of being told that a continuation in negotiations were about budget cuts they now feel that "the entire negotiation has become about cutting women’s healthcare,” said Sen. Pat Murray (D-WA). The level of political theater taking place on Capitol Hill seems to be the first of many acts of the upcoming campaign season.

While this is great for television and maybe one of the more compelling press conferences in some time, it is not likely that the individuals, male or female, that these Senators are pleading their case to are watching C-Span and the evangelical base that the republicans are rallying for 2012 are even less likely have watched this press conference. While Sen. Mikulski (D-MD) exclaimed that these proposed budget cuts have “no impact on the deficit or the budget.” What this debate does have an impact is the discourse of the 2012 elections. This week and particularly today the democrats have given a stock pile of sound bites and political ammunition to the right while Speaker Boehner, republicans and tea party freshmen in the House have merged their differences into one singular message.

This appears to be yet another savvy political messaging maneuver by republicans to frame the debate for the 2012 elections and an opportunity to rally their evangelical base against Planned Parenthood and democrats. Apparently democrats couldn't resist taking the bait. What the american public is hearing, at least  conservative americans is; (Republicans care about the military and saving your tax dollars. While democrats care about spending your tax dollars on "low income" women, with no healthcare, who may one day need an abortion.)

While Planned Parenthood is barred from spending federal dollars on abortions, all conservative Americans are hearing is that they, Planned Parenthood sure can tell you how, when & where to get an abortion, if that is, you need one. In the meantime democrats in the Senate are clamoring to defend a small faction of the party, while missing the much larger picture, messaging. With the lack of a clear messaging campaign, which has become a severe handicap for the Democratic Party over the past few years. Republicans have delivered the message for the democrats, right underneath their noses. And the message is this--Democrats care about spending your tax dollars on "low income" women, with no healthcare, who may possibly one day need an abortion.