Unlike Bill Clinton who declared the end of the "big government," New York Sen. Charles Schumer believes the Democratic Party must "embrace government" and counter the perception that government does not work, reports The New York Times.
"Democrats must embrace government. It’s what we believe in; it’s what unites our party; and, most importantly, it’s the only thing that’s going to get the middle class going again," Schumer plans to tell an audience at the National Press Club, according to his prepared remarks obtained by the Times.
Rather than taking a page from Clinton, who took a more moderate path following the 1994 midterm elections in which Republicans took control of both houses of Congress, Schumer's remarks signal an embrace of government as the solution.
"We must convince the middle class that the only way out of their morass is by embracing a strong and effective government, not demeaning it or running from it," he will argue.
Schumer's message that the midterm elections were less about a repudiation of Democratic policies and more a failure of messaging is one made by other Democratic leaders.
"Each time a party appears to be in charge, but is unable to convince the public they have the solution for easing middle-class decline, the electorate picks the other party — creating a sort of electoral whiplash. This explains the successive, alternating wave elections," his speech says.
As head of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Schumer will play a major role in defining the party's message in the next two years.
"I’ve always believed in and built two strong wings to the Democratic Party: A strong liberal wing, and a strong moderate wing," Schumer told Politico recently.
With the appointment of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the leadership ranks of the Democratic Senate Caucus, the liberal voice will be loud and Schumer can be expected to feel pressure to move the party toward the progressive wing.
"If the ballot measure results are any indication, actual progressive policies remain popular with voters in red and blue states. I believe you’ll see a Senate Democratic caucus fight on behalf of those policies and provide the votes if and when Republicans are ready to act," Faiz Shakir, a senior adviser to Harry Reid, told the Huffington Post
in early November.
In his Press Club remarks, Schumer also makes the case that Democrats did not go far enough when crafting their 2009 economic stimulus plan, reports the Buffalo News.
"After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus. But unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem —
The message of Schumer's remarks appear to be a reaction to the growing popularity of Warren, who may be a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and her message of economic populism.
"Elizabeth Warren was the most popular Democrat on the campaign trail this cycle — in red states, purple states, and blue states, And that's because her economic populist message," Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told The National Journal
shortly after the Democrats' midterm debacle.
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