Thursday, March 19, 2009

Message Fail

I don't know what genius wrote up this set of talking points on the AIG Bonuses, but they should probably be taken out back and shot:

As angry as the president is at the news about A.I.G., which he learned Thursday, Mr. Emanuel said, “his main priority is getting the financial system stabilized, and he believes this is a big distraction in that effort.

People are not sitting around their kitchen tables thinking about AIG,” Axelrod said. “They are thinking about their own jobs.”
Chris Bowers:

Wow. That is a lot of cognitive dissonance, given that President Obama himself said that people were "right to be angry, I'm angry," over the bonuses. Are people angry, or don't they care? Depends on if you are listening to President Obama or to his senior advisors, I guess.

Look, people are angry about their jobs, and their health care, and they are taking out that anger on the bonuses. It is a fairly simple causality chain that should be obvious to any political observer.

  1. People are pissed about the economy being in a recession, because of the impacts on their lives.
  2. People blame Wall Street for the recession.
  3. People don't like that, to fix the recession, more government money is being spent on Wall Street than on average Americans.
  4. When Wall Street get even richer as a result of all this, it makes people really, really angry.
People aren't mad at the bonuses in and of themselves. People are angry about the bonuses because they are angry about the recession. Because they are angry at Wall Street. Because they are angry at the bailout. The anger at the bonuses is just a vehicle for that anger right now. To not recognize this is an extraordinary level of tone-deafness. There is a direct, obvious connection between anger over the bonuses and people being worried about their jobs.

As much as many people in politics like to think otherwise, people are not dumb. Right now, they can quickly draw a connection between their economic condition and people on Wall Street getting rich. If you think that people are sitting around thinking "I am worried about my job, so I wish people would stop talking about Wall Street, because I see no connection between the two whatsoever," then you are just blind. Worse, you have basically turned into the same people who defended the Bush administration for losing $12 billion in cash in Iraq, because that wasn't really very much money.

People are pissed about the bonuses because they are pissed about the recession. Because they are pissed at Wall Street. Because they are pissed a a Wall Street bailout they were told was necessary, but that only seems to helping make the rich get richer. If that isn't obvious to you, it should be. Democrats and progressives are screwed if we don't catch this populist wave.

Yeah, and I'll also go on the record as saying when 84% of the public feels "outraged or bothered" by something, playing down its importance probably isn't your best bet.

1 comment:

  1. I honestly do not know how to respond to Geitner. Does he even have a plan? Lets be honest, he did know what was going on, and he negotiated with AIG. I really don't believe he will be able to run from this one.

    What bothers me most, as you have pointed out, is that Obama does have competant economic wizzes that are just sitting out accumulating dust.

    Despite this setback, I really don't believe that people will back the Republican party as economic populists. People are not that stupid, and will remember the past 8 years.

    What really pisses me off is their tone and attempt to frame the issues as such. As a under represented immigrant, I already feel that the Republican party follows this formula:

    1. Outrage at me/people like me
    invading, stealing jobs/$$,etc.

    2. Get Racists to recruit me with mockery and "being one the people"
    see Steele, Jindal, Palin

    3. Have dumbass motherfuckers then be pissed at me for not listening to them, call me the problem, the terrorist, the socialist and make me out to be part of the Left Wing Conspiracy
    I don't even mind Glenn Back, he may an idiot, but at least he does not front on where he stands.

    The way I see it, STOP BLAMING PEOPLE LIKE MY MOTHER for the current crisis. There is a reason why people want AIG to crumble, a reason why I want to punch Santelli in his nose.