Though it probably won’t secure enough votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, Dems are hoping that an epic floor fight over the surtax will cast Republicans as defenders of the rich and opponents of any and all action on job creation policies that have very broad public support.
More broadly, it’s hard not to discern a clear shift in strategy on not just Obama’s part, but also among Dem party leaders — one designed to, in effect, completely redraw the battle lines that have largely defined our politics in recent months. While the jobs bill in its original form seems doomed, Dems seem to be mounting a full-throttle effort — one involving the White House, Senate leaders, and the DNC — to draw a sharp populist contrast with Republicans on every available front, whether it’s over jobs, tax fairness, or Wall Street reform.
All this is unfolding as a host of various factors — Occupy Wall Street, Obama’s jobs tour, Elizabeth Warren’s Senate run, Warren Buffett’s appeals to his class that they sacrifice a bit more — are pushing the disputes over economic fairness, progressive taxation and corporate influence to the forefront of the national conversation. After two years battling on GOP austerity/deficit/cut-cut-cut territory, Dems finally seem to be making a serious, across-the-board effort to shift the storyline on to their own turf.
The Dems needed to go here years ago, but the Tea Party beat them to it. Now the Dems are wisely taking advantage of the moment to redefine themselves, their party, and most importantly their battle. The same effort by the Tea Party redfine Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of dirty effing hippies shows just how worried they are about the movement and about losing the populist mantle they spent billions to buy.
The narrative changes this week, and now the real battle is joined.