It’s Still the Economy, Stupid

June 16, 2007 at 11:09 am

Whatever happened to James Carville’s slogan from the Clinton years? Has the Iraq war dominated all discussion? Is the economy so good right now that we don’t have to worry about it? Is it no longer the economy, stupid?

I don’t believe either of these statements are true. But what has happened is that Republicans have branded themselves as the pro-business party and have worked very hard to brand Democrats as anti-business. And, as is typical with the Democrats, they haven’t done much to help themselves.

Both parties are actually pro business. It’s just that the businesses are different.

Let’s look at some businesses commonly associated with Republicans:

  • “Big business”
  • Oil companies
  • Defense
  • Finance
  • Credit card
  • Pharma
  • Automotive
  • Insurance

Now, the Democrats:

  • “Family businesses”
  • Technology
  • Entertainment
  • Environmental
  • Manufacturing
  • Defense
  • Agriculture
  • Healthcare

I know, I know. There’s lots of crossover and many of these industries play both the Republican and Democratic sides. Here me out for a second, though.

What are some differences? Three things.

  1. Big business vs. family business
  2. Vision of the future
    • Republicans – scary world, unsafe, need more security, insurance, and drugs. Bigger companies are the way to make money through consolidation and cost savings.
    • Democrats – lots of opportunities to help make the world a better place through new technologies and a “greener” consciousness. Small to mid-size companies will innovate.
  3. Conservation vs. Consumption – Republicans want to grow the economy through using more oil, medecines, big cars, big ticket items etc. While Democrats envision our country as leading the world in the relatively new field of energy conservation technologies.

These differences are significant and when presented this way could garner more support for progressives as PRO-business. Unfortunately, I don’t see progressives marketing themselves well. They need to make their case that they are pro-business. Then, explain how. Not what policies make them pro-business. But what they believe. Show the vision. America leading the way in new technologies. More independent. Less energy dependent. Less need to grovel with Arab sheikhs. Less need for war.

Our economy will not collapse if Democrats come to power. But the biggest status quo fat cats out there may not make quite the killing they’re making with Republicans crafting legislation specifically designed to funnel money to these industries.

For examples, see: