Both letters make the same point that Obama inherited a collapsing economy from the Bush administration and make the same cute argument against giving the car keys back to the party that drove the vehicle into the ditch in the first place. In the DNC letter, however, the President appears to have taken Michael Tomasky's advice to tie his policies to patriotic appeals. At the very least, he dares suggest that Republicans have been unpatriotic during the economic crisis.
When our country is suffering, we can't be Democrats or Republicans first. There's just no time for political games. We must be Americans first -- period. But it seems the Republicans don't share my commitment here. They've gone on record saying: 'We've made a political decision. We stood to gain nothing from cooperating.' They knew things were going to be bad. But they figured if they did nothing and just let Americans keep hurting, the other side, the Democrats, would take the blame. Well, they've done their best to gum up the works; to make things look broken; to say no to every single thing. They made it all about politics.
This line of argument is grimly amusing to those who remember how Democrats whined recently when they thought that Republicans had questioned the patriotism of dissidents. Now as then, like it or not, many in the opposition are motivated by principled objections to the administration's policies. Do you really think that any congressional Republicans actually believe that Obama's policies are correct, yet resent them only because he's a Democrat? They resent him as a person because he's a Democrat (for starters) but their opposition to his policies is as much ideological as it is unconditional. A Republican has every right to ask what makes Obama's program "American first" rather than "Democratic first" other than his occupancy of the White House. A case can be made that Republicans are unpatriotic because their ideology places the individual right to become a billionaire over the well being of all the American people, but to say they're unpatriotic simply because they're partisan is simply cynical so long as the government itself is partisan.
It's easy to make a case out of giving Congress back to the Republicans -- it should be easier than it seems to be for Democrats, at least. But that doesn't dictate an obligation to vote for the Democrats unless you buy totally into the logic of the American Bipolarchy. Since I don't, I have to advise the President that he should save that paragraph for speeches to voters rather than letters begging for money. Since he makes such a convincing case against the Republicans (again, it isn't as hard as it looks), I'm inspired to do my part for good government by stating here and now that no one should vote for a Republican candidate this year. Since American politics is reactionary in nature, I believe I can be more useful arguing against Republicans than for Democrats. I don't need to tell people who don't like Republicans to vote for Democrats instead. They can vote Green or Libertarian or Constitution or Socialist Worker for all I care, as long as they don't vote Republican. If no one votes Republican, it won't matter who actually wins, because it won't be a Republican. How's that for lesser-evilism?