John Harwood reports in today's New York Times that the Democrats' strategy going into the November mid-terms is likely to be a "Jujitsu Campaign".
Harwood writes that the Democrats will emphasize less what they could realistically expect to pass through congress, and emphasize more how the Republicans are reject any Democrat proposals for narrow party-political reasons. He explains:
Democrats increasingly flaunt the prospect of marauding Republicans for two reasons. One is to rouse liberal Democratic partisans, who polls show feel less enthusiasm about midterm elections than conservative Republicans do. The other is to alarm swing voters who may have forgotten what they did not like about President George W. Bush and his party in the last two elections.
The problem with this strategy, of course, is that it is primarily negative. The Democrats have controlled congress since 2006, and the White House as well since 2008. Voters would naturally expect them to run on their record - but obviously Democrats do not feel confident enough to do that.
By the same token, Republicans have also been adopting a negative approach. Even though it is expected that party out of power will spend a significant amount of time criticizing the party in power, the Republicans have been negative to the exclusion of promoting any alternative ideas. The Democrats label on the Republicans as the "party of no" does resonate. For all the dithering and drifting on the part of Obama and the Democrats, the best thing they've got going for them is such a weak opposition.
With both parties lacking a positive agenda, no wonder both get low approval ratings.