Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Welcoming their Hatred"

Obama's speech in New York was billed as going into the heart of the beast and giving it to them straight. Not sure if those people were mislead, or if I just missed something but...
With Goldman Sachs's top leaders in attendance, President Barack Obama urged financial executives to work with him in passing the financial reform bill currently pending in the Senate.

"Ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We rise or we fall together as one nation. So I urge you to join me -- to join those who are seeking to pass these commonsense reforms," according to Obama's prepared remarks for a speech in New York City. "And I urge you to do so not only because it is in the interests of your industry, but because it is in the interests of our country."
Uh, what?

I understand good economy equals job growth, but it's fucking absurd to say that Wall Street and Main Street fall and rise together.

Sorry Barack, but there's simply no magical middle ground on this one. You're either with us or against us.

These people won't meet us half way, because there's no reason for them to. The system's working amazingly for them, so why would they change it?

What you need is people willing to fight and take these interests on directly. Since I mocked people who compared Obama to FDR in the primaries it isn't really fair to make this comparison, but look FDR's language towards the financial elites of his time:
"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace -- business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering," Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in a 1936 speech. "They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today.

"They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred."
Holy fuck, I think 1930s David Broder's head just exploded.

Populism gets a bad name because all the very serious people have decided that it's an overly simplified view of economics and the world. There's no denying that there are plenty of complex issues out there, but you don't need to understand the complexities of a credit default swap to figure out that working people in this country have been getting screwed for quite some time now. You don't need to know the ins and outs of derivatives regulation to figure out that when Mitch McConnell skips town to attend a retreat with banking lobbyists, he's probably not doing it for your benefit.

Obama may feel some duty to rise above that type of populism, but I'm sure there are plenty of Republicans smarter than Mitch McConnell that won't mind tapping into that anger. It will be hypocritical and the opposite of the policies they actually support, but when our political media has the attention span of a 3 year old, you can bet they'll get away with it.

The Republicans may not seize the opportunity, but I sure wish Obama would stop leaving the door so fucking wide open.

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