Get back to business: Mark Penn warns Democrats to drop their obsession with resistance

January 12, 2019 GMT

A veteran political observer now warns the Democratic Party to stop endless pushback against President Trump and his administration, and get back to business.

“Results not resistance. That’s what I think the American public was expecting when they brought Democrats back into power in the House. But instead, echoing Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated 2016 strategy, the Democratic leaders so far have fully planted a flag in simply opposing legislation, funding and appointments under the theory that putting lead boots on President Trump is the best way to get him out of office, even if the country is put on pause for another two years. This is a fundamental mistake,” wrote Mark Penn in a Fox News op-ed published Saturday.

He was chief strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, along with Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Mr. Penn points to recent polls which suggests the voting public favors reasonable compromise over dramatic attacks and counterattacks.

“The idea that a few billion dollars for more walls, fences and border security rises to that moral level is overdone, especially since the Democrats supported nearly 600 miles of barriers across California not long ago. This is about politics, not policy. About the partisan bases, not the swing voters. And everybody knows it,” Mr. Penn said in the wide-ranging op-ed.

His advice comes as some Democrats resort to political stunts two California lawmakers this week showed up at the White House gate with garbage to protest the partial government shutdown. Mr. Penn also cited freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who has transfixed the news media and garnered attention for her outspoken socialist ideas.

“Rather than being overshadowed by the Ocasio-Cortez show, the Democrats have an opportunity to realign the mainstream suburbs here on a longer-term basis if they become the party of action and fair compromise. They can be the ones who point fingers and fight over who caused the shutdown or they can be the leaders who stepped up, were bigger and ended it for the good of the country. The choice should be an easy one,” Mr. Penn wrote.