Republicans have a new (or at least newly prominent) talking point -- and of course, because they're Republicans, the mainstream media automatically assumes that the new talking point is extremely effective. Here's Ashley Parker's story in The New York Times:
'Imperial Presidency' Becomes a Rallying Cry for RepublicansIs an allegedly imperial presidency really a concern of voters nationwide? No -- go look at any recent poll of Americans' priorities. Americans care about jobs, the economy, health care, the budget. But "imperial presidency" motivates the base -- so, we're told, it's a brilliant Republican line of attack.
Republicans, poised for strong gains in the midterm elections, are offering starkly conflicting messages about President Obama to rally their voters. In one moment, they say the president is feckless and weak. But in the next, they say Mr. Obama is presiding over an "imperial presidency" that is exercising power that verges on dictatorial.
So far, they are succeeding in having it both ways....
If Republicans have a rallying cry heading into the 2014 midterm elections, it is their unified anthem against Mr. Obama's "imperial presidency" -- a two-word, bumper sticker-ready slogan that encapsulates their criticisms about government overreach through Mr. Obama's prolific use of executive actions.
The phrase is part of an effort by Republicans to nationalize a series of concerns about the Obama White House, and the role of government, into a pithy, compelling expression. The "imperial presidency" mantra not only captures existing voter frustration over the Affordable Care Act and turns it, Republicans believe, into a broader referendum on the president's entire administration, but also reflects an underlying conservative philosophy about the appropriate role of government....
The message is one that motivates the conservative base, whose energy is vital in midterm elections when overall turnout is lower....
Now, compare this to what we heard from the mainstream press in response to Democrats' efforts to make the Koch brothers an issue in the midterms. The Koch brothers aren't a top priority for voters nationwide -- but they matter to the Democratic base. So ... isn't it brilliant for Democrats to focus on what matters to base voters, too? Oh, no -- just the opposite. When Democrats preach to the choir, they're mocked: "Can Democrats' Koch Attacks Work If Nobody Knows Who They Are?" says National Journal. "Poll Shows Democrats' Big Push Against The Kochs Might Not Make Any Sense," says BuzzFeed. Joe Scarborough is withering in his contempt for the strategy.
Now, how is "imperial presidency" working in individual campaigns? Ashley Parker focuses on Paul Broun, who's running for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia:
Representative Paul Broun ... stood before a gathering of Republican women here recently, his voice loud and deliberate, as he raced through a long list of areas where he said the Obama administration has veered "totally out of control" -- the health care law, Internal Revenue Service treatment of conservative groups, and the National Security Agency's surveillance program, to name a few.And this is a successful strategy for Broun ... right? Well, yes -- he has a double-digit lead in the GOP primary. Oh, no, wait -- he had a double-digit lead a few weeks ago. Now, a less teabaggy, more Establishment-oriented candidate, David Perdue, leads Broun by 18 in a SurveyUSA poll. And by 6 in another poll. In fact, the Constitution-waving Broun led in only one poll, and is now, according to poll averages, on track to finish fourth in the primary.
As the crowd murmured its assent, Mr. Broun, who is running for his party's Senate nomination, reached into his black blazer and pulled out the pocket-size Constitution he always carries.
"They're a symptom of a government that has just totally left the bounds of our U.S. Constitution," he said....
"Our founding fathers truly believed that government should be a government of the people, by the people and for the people -- not a government over the people," Mr. Broun told a gathering of supporters recently.
But Parker has a story she likes -- the GOP's new meme is unstoppable! So that's what we're told: Republicans always have their fingers on the pulse of Real Americans. Democrats never do.