I wanted to add to Jonathan’s post on the story in the New York Times in which we’re told, “Democratic Party leaders, bruised by months of attacks on the new health care program, have found an issue they believe can lift their fortunes both locally and nationally in 2014: an increase in the minimum wage.”
To put this in context: Barack Obama is coming off what the Democratic pollster Peter Hart calls “a terribly ragged year.” The president’s approval ratings are near historic lows for a fifth year in office. Public confidence in his honesty and trustworthiness is sinking. His second-term agenda is dead in the water. And his failures, particularly related to his signature domestic achievement, are multiplying. And in the face of this Democrats are turning to the minimum wage as a 2014 strategy?
Apparently so. Representative Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the Times, “The more Republicans obsess on repealing the Affordable Care Act and the more we focus on rebuilding the middle class with a minimum-wage increase, the more voters will support our candidates.” Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s senior adviser, added, “You can make a very strong case that this will be a helpful issue for Democrats in 2014.”
No you can’t.
Here’s some free counsel to Messrs. Israel and Pfeiffer: When the history of the 2014 mid-term elections is written, the Affordable Care Act will be a dominant, and maybe the dominant, issue while the minimum wage will not merit even an asterisk. The latter is hardly a topic that is on the hearts and minds of the American people. You can find here and here recent polls from the Gallup organization listing the top concerns of the American people. The minimum wage doesn’t show up; and, in fact, more people are concerned with America becoming a socialist country than are concerned that the minimum wage is too low.
In addition, the idea that increasing the minimum wage is the key to rebuilding the middle class borders on being comical.
What this is all about is a president and a party who see a “wave election” in the making–one triggered in large part by the politically catastrophic effects of ObamaCare. And so Mr. Obama and his aides and allies are trying to deflect attention away from their failures.
It’s kind of pathetic, really. It not only won’t work; looking to the minimum wage to be their political talisman simply underscores the fact that the modern Democratic Party is politically desperate and intellectually exhausted.
Can a push for midnight basketball be far behind?