Last night Rachel Maddow nailed the key to Claire McCaskill’s 2006 victory over Jim Talent: the minimum wage. The GOP’s business constituency hates it, everyone else loves it. It didn’t hurt that a minimum wage initiative was on the Missouri ballot then either:
To their credit, the DSCC does get that this is a potent issue. I just saw an ad last night that they produced for Carnahan that hits Roy Blunt for his past opposition to the minimum wage – a past record that he is eager, by the way, to keep quiet:
I take the ad as indicating that Robin Carnahan gets it too, although she certainly isn’t running hard with it.
Another issue that strikes me as having all the positive mojo of the minimum wage is wiping out the BushCo tax giveaways for the wealthy – but wait – Carnahan already blew that. To be fair, she’s not alone in this lack of judgment, since the entire Democratic Congress crapped out on ending the tax breaks for the wealthy when they had a chance to use a vote on the issue to make a statement before the midterms. Remember operant conditioning? The GOP has been far too successful in training the Democrats to fold their tails between their legs and run whenever they hear the dreaded “T” word.
The real import of what Maddow is saying, though, lies in what both these issues have in common. They represent a core Democratic principle: fairness. When Democratic politicians fail to stand up for this principle, they deny their intrinsic identity, what it means to be a Democrat – and you can be sure that a self-hating Democrat isn’t likely to inspire much love from voters.