Sunday, September 12, 2010

Politics Obama Needs to Tell Voters What Republicans Will Do If They’re in Power

Tags: Obama Campaign Speeches Finally Hit Mark Repubs Help Themselves and Corporations, Obama All Americans Except Abuses by Repubs and Corporations

President Obama needs to also start working on our Press/Media and indirectly Americans because the former is the purveyor of news. They can choose to report or not and accurately or not. Call those who are more fair towards his administration and use poetic license to expand on their question to emphasize how many stop the bill motions on a bill that Republicans have used to stop needed bills for the benefit of both Americans and small business.

Below Obama pointed out a specific House Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for refusing to say that the bills that Obama were barely able to pass to help Americans was resisted at every turn as shown below. Both Rachel Maddow and Frank Rich of the New York Times picked up on this, but sadly, few others.

The excerpts below explains their main points.

Jim Kawakami, Sept 12, 2010,

MaddowBlog If you're the Democrats, you can make all the policy points you want, but in a campaign year like this one, what you really want is to have all the bad things you want to say about the other party personified in one very easily caricatured opponent.

And in 2010, that easily caricatured opponent has actually identified himself. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) set himself up as the new Republican standard-bearer by calling for President Obama to can his economic team and by then advancing his own economic platform for the nation.

President Obama set about making Rep. Boehner as famous as possible in his stimulus speech yesterday in his home turf of Cleveland. Mr. Obama called out the congressman eight times by name. "Mr. Boehner dismissed these jobs we saved –- teaching our kids, patrolling our streets, rushing into burning buildings -– as 'government jobs' -– jobs I guess he thought just weren't worth saving," the president told the crowd.

There's political gain to be had in personifying your opposition, Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell said. There's also political risk. "You've suggested that your president can be beaten by a potential speaker of the House," she told us on the show last night.

[Full segment]

Obama Tells Voters What Republicans Rejects NY Times Frank Rich Tells Obama to Bite Back Sept 11, 2010

NO, he can’t. President Obama can’t reverse the unemployment numbers by Election Day. He can’t get even a modest new stimulus bill past the Party of No, and even if he could, there would be few jobs to show for it until (maybe) 2011. Nor can he rewrite the history of his administration. Its signal accomplishments to date are an initial stimulus package that was overrun by the calamity at hand and a marathon health care battle as yet better known for its unseemly orgy of backroom wrangling than its concrete results. While that brawl raged, the White House seemed indifferent to the mounting number of Americans being tossed onto the Great Recession scrapheap. …

For Obama to make Americans believe he does understand their problems and close the enthusiasm gap, he cannot merely make changes of campaign style. Sporadic photo ops in shirtsleeves or factory settings persuade no one; a few terrific speeches can’t always ride to the rescue. Nor would there be much point in firing Summers and Geithner — a political nonstarter anyway, now that it’s been opportunistically proposed by the G.O.P. leader John Boehner (his one good idea).

Certainly Obama can add powerful new hands who might actually fight to protect ordinary Americans from the sharks; the star consumer advocate, Elizabeth Warren, should have been front and center, even in a Senate confirmation battle, long ago. But in the short term between now and Election Day, Obama may have the most to gain by sharpening his attack on those “powerful interests” who liken him to a dog. A top dog bites back (with a smile).

In a second forceful speech last week, delivered outside Cleveland, Obama titillated the political press by calling out Boehner by name eight times. But though Boehner is a nice soft target — he belittled the economic meltdown as an “ant” and has staked his political capital on extending tax cuts for America’s wealthiest 3 percent — he’s merely a front-man. Obama must also call out the powerful interests who are pulling the G.O.P.’s strings (and filling its coffers), whether on Wall Street or in Big Oil or any other sector where special interests are aligned against reform in the public interest.

If Obama can speak lucidly about a subject as thorny as race, he can surely do a far more specific job of telling the story of how we got to this economic impasse. He must join the many who are talking about why the top 1 percent of American earners now take home nearly a quarter of Americans’ total income — perhaps the single most revealing indicator of how three decades of greed and free-market absolutism have eviscerated America’s fundamental ideals of fairness. It can’t all be reduced to the shorthand of “George W. Bush.”

Obama might be so rude as to point out how these top earners are whining all the way to the bank even as the G.O.P. opposes extending more benefits to the unemployed and new tax cuts to small business. In June, the Business Roundtable chairman and Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg gave a speech so rank with self-victimization — he claimed that government was “reaching into virtually every sector of economic life” — that the normally polite Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein reviled him as “a corporate hack” peddling “much-discredited country-club nonsense.”

Seidenberg was soon topped by a multibillionaire Republican contributor, Stephen Schwarzman, who likened Obama’s modest financial regulatory package to “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Among the clients of Schwarzman’s private equity company, Blackstone, is Goodyear, which signed on in 2004 to get advice on “optimal business configuration” and announced it was shipping more jobs to Asia the following year. That narrative, one of countless like it, might have come in handy last week when Obama was speaking in Ohio, just 30 miles from Goodyear’s headquarters.

As many have noted, the obvious political model for Obama this year is Franklin Roosevelt, who at his legendary 1936 Madison Square Garden rally declared that he welcomed the “hatred” of his enemies in the realms of “business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.” As the historian David Kennedy writes in his definitive book on the period, “Freedom from Fear,” Roosevelt “had little to lose by alienating the right,” including those in the corporate elite, with such invective; they already detested him as vehemently as the Business Roundtable crowd does Obama.

Though F.D.R. was predictably accused of “class warfare,” his antibusiness “radicalism,” was, in Kennedy’s words, “a carefully staged political performance, an attack not on the capitalist system itself but on a few high-profile capitalists.” Roosevelt was trying to co-opt the populist rage of his economically despondent era, some of it uncannily Tea Party-esque in its hysteria, before it threatened that system, let alone his presidency. Only the crazy right confused F.D.R. with communists for taking on capitalism’s greediest players, and since our crazy right has portrayed Obama as a communist, socialist and Nazi for months, he’s already paid that political price without gaining any of the benefits of bringing on this fight in earnest.

F.D.R. presided over a landslide in 1936. The best the Democrats can hope for in 2010 is smaller-than-expected losses. To achieve even that, Obama will have to give an F.D.R.-size performance — which he can do credibly and forcibly only if he really means it. So far, his administration’s seeming coziness with some of the same powerful interests now vilifying him has left middle-class voters, including Democrats suffering that enthusiasm gap, confused as to which side he is on. If ever there was a time for him to clear up the ambiguity, this is it.

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