Deroy Murdock wrote a great article the other day about forcing the Democrats to vote on spending cuts linked with other issues that give them a choice of angering voters in general or their union base in particular.
I think this is a fabulous idea. If we want to take back the Senate and keep the House, we have to have a narrative that's better than what comes off our opponent's teleprompter. That means we have to paint the Democrats as hopelessly under the corrupt influence of their big campaign donors, the unions. We have to have Democrats vote on the record on a lot of stuff they have to look bad on in order to satisfy their union contributors. In addition to Mr. Murdock's spending cuts coupled with popular programs, which are really great, immigration, education and federal civilian worker pay would be other good areas to highlight.
The House should pass a stand alone guest worker program, which should apply to both illegal immigrants already in the US and workers who want to come here. They should also pass an expanded H1B visa program as a stand alone bill, again open to anybody without regard to current immigrant status. The Senate Democrats should have to explain to Hispanics and Asians why they won't vote for either one. (Hint: Unions oppose them.) In education, cut the Education Department’s bureaucracy enough to block grant a voucher program states can qualify for. This gives Democrats the choice of upsetting the teachers unions or inner city Blacks suffering from atrocious schools.
On federal civilian pay, demands for embarrassing information are the way to improve our narrative. For example, have the congressional budget office find out how much is spent on compensation for the federal civilian workforce as a whole. Also ask them to compute the full time equivalent number of federal civilian employees. At this point, a simple calculation of expense per worker yields Democratic embarrassment. The average voter can tell right away federal bureaucrats are making more than he or she is. Let the Democrats weasel out of this by explaining how many more credentials federal workers have than the average worker. It will sound stupid and elitist. Even better, the information will allow the House to pass a government wide freeze on the total federal civilian personnel budget. Our current freeze on the pay structure can be beaten by promoting everybody so the total spent rises even though the salary for every pay grade remains frozen. If we freeze the current personnel budget, pay grade creep no longer works.
Some might say that these tactics will remove any chance of bipartisanship. With a Chicago Democrat in the White House, how can we expect bipartisanship? Having lived in Cook County over half of my life, I have to say that Obama "negotiates" just like Democratic Chicago Mayors or Cook County Commissioners negotiate with Republicans. They do a nice reach-out photo op followed by a closed door meeting where they dictate the terms of what's going to happen. The Republicans can like it or lump it. There is no bipartisanship involved in Chicago and there is none in the White House either. It's just never going to happen, no matter what.