Brian Donahue's blog

Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs

Stories and reports continue to break about the stimulus bill that was rushed through congress earlier this year and the fact that it has not succeeded in creating more jobs for Americans.

Still, there doesn't appear to be any leadership or a unified voice raising the tenor of outrage about this massive failure by the Democratic leaders in Congress and the Administration.  The more people scratch the surface of the stimulus reports, the more they discover a government boondoggle - with non-existent congressional districts, counting jobs that were created without stimulus funding, double-counting of jobs, and unclear entities that have been credited with creating new jobs. 

All the while, unemployment has reached an unbelievable 10.2%

This upcoming election cycle is about jobs and the economy - plain and simple. Every poll since September 2008 has shown that the number one concern of voters is jobs and the economy. 

Voters are watching family members, neighbors and friends cope with layoffs, and many have lost their own jobs.  People are surviving on smaller paychecks.  Many Americans know someone who has lost their home to a foreclosure and ever increasing numbers believe the stimulus is having no effect on the economy.  There is a sweeping sentiment among voters that the government is getting too large and is not responsive to the people.

Without mincing words, the trillion dollar stimulus the Washington Democrats shoved down America's throat is a debacle and is the clearest example of how they are fundamentally failing the American people in regards to jobs and the economy. 

In fact, David Obey, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and father of the stimulus bill, is now placing blame on the Administration for lack of oversight of his own bill. Even he is running scared from the mess that is the stimulus bill.

This can not be emphasized enough.

Health care reform is important and must debated and a government-run plan should be fought aggressively. However, it appears that while we focus on that, the opposition is getting a free pass on this.  In reality, the healthcare legislation is a distraction to what is most important - the Democratic leadership's big government approach to jobs and the economy has failed...and this is the strongest reason why a big government approach to healthcare is wrong.

Republicans need to begin calling for accountability on this failed stimulus bill that is wrought with inconsistencies and bad numbers...and drumbeat the looming question, "Where are the jobs?"

I point you to a piece by Mike Flynn, editor of Mike wrote a post today, Obama Stimulus Numbers: The Return of Enron-Style Accounting, comparing the reporting of the stimulus bill to Enron's reporting of it's financial reports. He's starting to see where this is heading.

Pass it On

I pointed out earlier this year that a perfect storm was brewing.  

President Obama and the Democratic leaders in Congress hastily drew a bold line in the sand on the role of government and the direction they wanted to take this country.  They shoved a poorly conceived stimulus bill, riddled with pet projects, down the throats of congress.  They moved to raise taxes and continue to promote a much larger hand of government into corporate offices and living rooms of Americans.  With the multi-trillion dollar healthcare bill falling apart, it’s becoming clear that perhaps this is not the kind of change the American people anticipated.

We are approaching an environment that is ripening for Republican candidates across the country.  Candidates running on a strong economic and jobs message, with a clear vision outlining a more accountable government, over a larger more intrusive one, are seeing momentum gather for their campaigns.

I wanted to share with you some key analysis from three different reputable Republican polling companies, who have publicly released findings, which coincide with this assessment.

See below:

Latest bi-partisan George Washington University national Battleground Poll, conducted by The Tarrance Group in conjunction with Lake Research (a Democratic polling firm).


  • President Obama's Job Approval is down to just 53%, while 42% disapprove.  The intensity on each side is nearly even, with 40% strongly approving, and 37% strongly disapproving.  He is upside down among Independent voters, 42% approve to 50% disapprove.
  • For the first time in several cycles, Republican voters are more energized about voting than Democratic voters.  Fully 75% of Republicans say they are extremely likely to vote in the 2010 elections, compared to just 66% of Democrats.
  • The generic Congressional ballot is back to a only a 3-point Democratic advantage.  By comparison, the generic showed an 8-point DEM lead in the 2006 cycle.
  • Just 34% approve of the job Congress is doing, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a 32% favorable image, with fully 51% unfavorable. 
  • Republicans have regained their advantage on the issues of holding down taxes and controlling wasteful spending.  However, on the issue who would better handle turning the economy around, Democrats in Congress still lead by 14-points.  
  • Only 33% say that the economic stimulus passed by Congress is working, while 61% disagree.  But 58% say they agree that it should be given a year to really make a difference.  

For more information: see Ed Goeas' presentation at

Latest NPR poll done by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (a Democratic polling firm).  

Key findings:

  • President Obama's approval rating has dropped below 55%, and as many voters strongly disapprove as strongly approve.
  • The GOP has a one point advantage on the generic ballot - highlighting that voters want balance in Washington.
  • A plurality of voters believe that Obama's economic policies have run up a record federal deficit while failing to end the recession instead of his policies having averted an even worse crisis.
  • Voters say that the Democratic Party is not doing a good job addressing the country's priorities this year.  However, in a sobering finding, they think the GOP is doing an even worse job of addressing the country's priorities.
  • A plurality of voters are strongly opposed to the Obama plan to change health care.  Voters who had been undecided on this issue have moved to the negative perspective.

For more information:

 Another interesting Poll by Wilson Research Strategies for the Kaiser Family Foundation on healthcare, analyzed the language for Republicans to remember when discussing the Democratic plan. 


  • Discuss the costs in specific, personal detail.  The quickest way to motivate opposition to nationalized health care is to remind most Americans that their taxes and their premiums will go up. 
  • Focus on the universality of the proposal.  If the benefits are not going to benefit them personally, Americans are less willing to pay for them.
  • Don’t let Democrats pretend that only “the rich” will pay for health care.  The strongest argument proponents of health care overhaul have is that “someone else” will foot the bill for this.  Democrats are obviously aware of this and should not be allowed to get away with it.
  • Most importantly, a personal price tag must be added to every proposal.  Specific numbers build opposition to this proposal.  Americans can’t understand and don’t care about billions and trillions, but they do care about $500 in new taxes for themselves or $100 in additional healthcare premiums.

For more information: see WRS’ full assessment on the issue at

Brian Donahue is a strategic media consultant with Jamestown Associates.  He also blogs at

A Big Spot Called Tiny

This one hits hard. A spot titled "Tiny", was just released by the McCain Campaign in perfect timing before Obama's big nomination speech.

For decades, foreign policy, military and security issues have been a perceived weakness for national Democrats - an achilles heal, if you will. Also, national security and dealing with outside threats of terrorism or war have been a largely solidifying issue for religious conservatives and more fiscal libertarian Republicans.

Web Video Didn't Kill the TV Star

This is a different take on my Web video vs. TV post. This is a great conversation to have, particularly from Brian Donahue, one of the real leading lights of GOP advertising and author  of the must-read 30or60 blog. I'll be traveling over the next few days, but I'll have a response to this and to Josh's piece. -Patrick

Recently, my friend and colleague Patrick Ruffini, whom I respect dearly, posted on the subject of ‘new media’ versus ‘traditional media.’ The subject is a new lightning rod for political marketers and advertisers – especially the ones that fall into the ‘new media’ camp.

Here is a third approach – one that addresses the values and weaknesses of both forms of media and how they intersect, compliment and supplement one another. 


The bottom line is – comparing ‘traditional media’ vs. ‘new media’ is like comparing apples and oranges, they are not mutually exclusive mediums for advertising and carrying messages – but different vehicles, that target different audiences, with different creative formats – each working best within their own confines of delivery.

Allow me to examine and respond to several of Patrick’s points: 

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