Democrats' Bait and Switch Election Strategy November 20th, 2006 In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned for president by promising tax cuts for the middle class. Fourteen years later, his Party ran on a similar âtell the people exactly what they want to hearâ motif, this time the mantra being a speedy withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Though separated by almost a decade and a half, these campaign strategies were quite similar to a now illegal marketing scheme called a bait and switch â whereby a company advertises a product for sale at a cheap price to lure in customers. Unfortunately, the organizationâs retail outlets donât actually have the item in stock forcing anxious shoppers to consider more expensive products that are available. I Dig a Phony Much like this advertising scam, the 1992 and 2006 political campaigns had three things in common: â¢ They were hugely successful in garnering enough votes to assure victory â¢ They offered promises that werenât remotely meant to be kept â¢ Their pledges would be rescinded before those newly elected would take office. Surprisingly, the Democrats of 2006 were faster in retracting their campaign promises than Clinton. He at least waited a few weeks to tell the seemingly stunned populace that âsuddenlyâ exploding budget deficits made tax cuts unfeasible, setting up the perfect ruse to raise them. By contrast, in 2006, the Democrats only waited nine days to betray their supporters. This most recent backstabbing of the electorate is a little less obvious though â or, as liberal elites like to say, more nuanced â and came in the form of a coronation by House Democrats of Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) as their Majority Leader instead of antiwar hero Jack Murtha (D-Pennsylvania). Many in the media saw this as a vote of no confidence in the Congressmanâs ethics background. However, buried deep under the surface was something far more telling. With this one vote, the left made it clear that regardless of what they said during the campaign, they fully understood how a capricious withdrawal from Iraq was not in the countryâs best interest. I Donât Want to Soil the Party To be sure, some well-timed comments by General John Abizaid on Wednesday, making it clear that he didnât support any troop reductions at this time, proved quite fortuitous for Democrats in dire need of a Party makeover. This made supporting the currently more hawkish Hoyer the perfect tonic for those on the left looking to get this issue out of the way well before the new Congress was sworn in. Equally timely was a Washington Post editorial published the day before adroitly explaining the need for the coming Democrat change of direction: But [Murthaâs] descriptions of the stakes [in Iraq] have been consistently unrealistic, and his solutions irresponsible. Just last week he denied that the United States was fighting terrorism in Iraq, though al-Qaeda is known to play a major part in the insurgency. He said the United States should abandon even the effort to train the Iraqi army and should âredeploy as soon as practicable,â an extreme step that most congressional Democrats oppose. He claimed that âstability in the Middle East, stability in Iraq,â would come from such an abrupt withdrawal; in fact, virtually all Iraqi and Middle Eastern leaders have said that it would lead to a greatly escalated conflict that could spread through the region. Obviously, achieving this necessary character switch would require Democrats to begin separating themselves from their campaign promises. After all, exit polls showed that 67 percent of voters felt Iraq was either very or extremely important in their election decisions. Of the 56 percent that said they disapproved of the war, 80 percent voted for Democrats. And, 82 percent of those that wanted all of the troops withdrawn (representing 29 percent of voters) supported Democrat candidates. As a result, millions of Americans voted âDâ in their districts and states exclusively due to the belief that this would lead to an expeditious withdrawal of troops. Once it became clear that such a move was not going to happen, the Democrats had to figure out a way to explain to the electorate that conditions had somehow radically changed in just nine days making their campaign promises implausible. Of course, itâs likely that many Americans never bought into the Democrat pledge to withdraw troops quickly, and easily saw through the canard. Though appearing at this time to be a species facing extinction, many inside the Beltway refer to them not so affectionately as conservatives. Heartfelt congratulations go to all in that camp. However, that doesnât assuage the anger those who did get fooled again will feel when they discover that they fell prey to the same nefarious bait and switch scheme as they did back in 1992. Much as then, it is incumbent on the Democrats to make all those duped feel better about themselves, thereby making it easier to pull the wool over their eyes the next time this campaign strategy becomes necessary.