Hope in New York

I bought stock today.

I bought stock today. It wasn't because I think the economy will turn around next week (I don't). It's because that as an American, I want to believe that our best days are yet to come. Millions of people feel this way and yet somehow, the GOP still hasn't learned this lesson. Jim Tedisco, the Republican State Assemblyman battling to replace Kirsten Gillibrand in Congress, lost a 20 point lead to Democrat Scott Murphy and is keeping Michael Steele up at night with the thought of the first loss on his watch. Tedicso, once leading handily, is on the precipice of a loss because he and the NRCC have been running negative ads that sound shrill and full of the same accusations that haven't worked for the past two elections: "Tax-and-spend liberal… Run for the hills." Did Tedisco really miss what happened in November? If it means jobs, voters want spending. They're okay with higher taxes on the wealthy if it stimulates the economy and their 401(k) plans. Murphy's ads show a family man who spends Sunday dinners with 56 of his closest relatives. He's a businessman who has created jobs. Murphy talks about making upstate New York a place where his kids will stay to raise their own families one day. It's not a unique message. But it's hope; it's positive. More importantly, it's still a winning message. The Republican Party has mistaken frustration and the impatience of the electorate with an abandonment of hope. Voters may be frustrated that the economy didn't get fixed overnight, but they knew deep down that wasn't going to happen. They're still hoping for what candidate Obama gave them last year—reason to believe that if we all work hard and believe in ourselves, our dreams will come true again. Now that Tedisco's lead is slipping, he's finally waking up, running a new set of we're-all-on-the-American-team ads. In two weeks we'll see if the ads enough to save Tedisco from becoming the latest casualty of the grumpy old party.Debra DeShong Reed, Principal of Point Blank Public Affairs, was the senior communications advisor for the Kerry/Edwards Presidential campaign and Communications Director for former U.S. Senator Robert G. Torricelli.

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