The New Narrative, Part 1: Government Makes Capitalism Possible

After last week's eviscerating election, the Rude Pundit offered that one of the biggest problems is that Democrats not only ran away from President Obama and, in some cases, from being Democrats (which is something Democrats do all the time). It's that Democrats have failed to offer voters a story, a narrative, something they can hang their hats on and say, "Yeah, this is where I want to spend some time." So unceasingly focusing on tiny slices of the population to just hopefully barely nudge the numbers into the "Win" column, Democrats mostly ignored the larger population who needed to be inspired to vote.

Republicans had their story: "Barack Obama is destroying the nation. If you believe that, then you must believe that Democratic Candidate X is going to aid and abet in the nation's destruction. Therefore, you must vote for Republican Z." That's compelling. Your vote becomes the means through which the nation is saved, even if it means voting in the people who had very nearly actually destroyed the country a scant 6 years ago, even if it means voting against what you really want, even if the basic premise of the story is false. It's compelling, and that's what matters.

Democrats can and must create a better narrative. It can't just be a list of what Barack Obama has accomplished to prove that Republicans are liars. That's got no legs, and it's just playing defense. What's needed is a story that demonstrates the good of Democratic domestic policy.

Right now, in Louisiana, the Rude Pundit's long-left home state, Senator Mary Landrieu is in a run-off with "mainstream" Republican Bill Cassidy. Landrieu is widely expected to lose, and why not? Landrieu keeps running away from President Obama, as if somehow not appearing on a stage with him nullifies Cassidy's strategy of tying Landrieu to Obama. Cassidy has agreed to one debate before the December election, adding that he'll agree to one more debate each time Landrieu "barnstorms the state with Barack Obama."

Landrieu's assuredly losing strategy is two-pronged: She is attacking Cassidy as someone without all the clout that she has (although how that is as relevant in a Republican-run Senate is left unsaid). And she is going around the state to remind people of how much she has done for Louisianians (which really means, "for the oil industry"). Even in this typical strategy, Landrieu is doing it wrong. Why not tie Cassidy to viscerally unpopular Governor Bobby Jindal? No wonder the Democratic National Committee has pulled ad buys on Landrieu, knowing that she's a long-shot. The potent combination of racism and general stupidity pretty much assure a loss.

The impending loss of one of the last Democratic Senate seats in the South is the perfect opportunity to try something different. Why not? What is there to lose that hasn't already been lost? Let the Rude Pundit tell you a new story, an American story, a Louisiana story:

The Rude Sister and her family have health insurance because of Obamacare. They got it on the federal exchange because Louisiana is run by jerks. Because they have health insurance because of Obamacare, they have been able to do several things. First and foremost, they were able to give up the expensive COBRA policy they had been under since the Rude Sister had been mergered out of her job. Her husband was underemployed at a small office that wasn't required to provide health insurance. Having health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, voted for exclusively by Democrats in the Senate, the Rude Brother-in-Law was able to start his own small consulting business, and it has been so successful that he may be in the position to hire people within the next year. They are white, they have two kids, they go to church, and they own a home. They are attempting to achieve the American dream: to be successful within the capitalist system. They are as American as Americans are stereotyped to be (except the Rude Sister couldn't bake an apple pie to save her life).

There's your narrative. Just a little bit of government, in the form of a subsidy for health insurance, is enough to possibly end up creating jobs. Isn't that the goal? To make the American dream possible? What the Rude Sister and family are doing is what everyone in the United States hope to do. They wouldn't be doing it without Obamacare, without the Democrats voting for it.

It's that simple. It's that direct. You tell the story of how government works, not how it fails, not how it harms. How it works. How it helps. How it's supposed to be there for the citizens of the nation.

This is the beginning of the new narrative. It's not saying, "Republicans say these bad things. Here are good things." It's not a call for revolution. It's not saying that some people are evil (although some very much are). It's implying, "Do you want to squash the dreams of these American Americans or do you want them to flourish?" It's asking, "Who are you?" and "Who are we?" That's what voting answers. Right now, we're a pretty terrible lot. Maybe we can use the new narrative to make us less awful.