From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Small Businesses vs. Working Families

November 15, 2004 9:05 PM

David Sirota makes a great point in his latest on Montana's new governor Schweitzer -- a Democrat in the reddest of red states.

Too often, Democratic boilerplate language about helping "working families" makes it sound like the party thinks of Americans as helpless victims of crushing economic forces. In truth, most Americans are proud of their ability to stand on their own two feet and compete, and that self-image is embodied in the small business person. This appeal is particularly strong in Montana where, as Schweitzer likes to remind people, 85 percent of residents own or are employed by small businesses.

While D.C. interest groups like the National Federation of Independent Business have become de facto arms of the Republican Party, at the grassroots level, employees of small businesses aren't particularly Republican, and even small business owners are more up for grabs. Sure, these entrepreneurs don't like high taxes and regulations. But many of them have felt the sting of losing customers and markets to big corporations that used their size and clout unfairly. As a small business owner himself, Schweitzer shared these frustrations and knew how to use them. He seamlessly turned questions about taxation into opportunities to argue that big-box companies like Wal-Mart should pay their fair share and shouldn't be allowed to run roughshod over local business. Education became a way to talk about how state government was hurting small business development by letting Montana's technical college tuitions become among the highest in the nation.

Democratic language really is quite derogatory -- working families, safety nets, welfare, etc.

More from the archive in Framing.

Small Businesses vs. Working Families (11.15.2004)

Next Entry: Rove wants a Democrat in Bush's cabinet! (11.17.2004)
Previous Entry: Tightening the grip of power... (11.15.2004)

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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