Posts Tagged ‘barack obama’

I humbly offer Obama my strategy for winning in 2012

January 10, 2012

An extract from Thomas Frank’s book Pity The Billionaire in the Guardian on Saturday explained how the Republican Party has managed to wrest a post-crash populist agenda away from the Democrats since Barack Obama starting trying to lift the USA out of the economic mess George Bush had left him with.

The Tea Party that drove the GOP’s congressional successes in 2010 and now the Republican presidential candidates seem to be getting away with ludicrous claims that what the economy needs is a smaller state and less regulation to return to health. Frank’s article contains many terrifying examples of their views. Rather than the lack of financial regulation, Republicans believe it was housing policy that led to the economic meltdown in 2008. Somehow they appear to be winning the argument with the people, with polls showing more Americans blaming big government than big business for economic woes.

Obama has struggled to make an impact in political debate over the past few years, ever since the wrangles over the healthcare reforms. Apparently this is due to his love of being correct, rather than playing to the crowd and appealing to their emotions, which the Republicans have mastered. Put simply, it’s the triumph of heart over head, and it’s been going on for ages. Drew Westen wrote a book about it. And Obama still seems to get it wrong.

According to Republicans, Obama is some hideous hybrid of a socialist, a fascist, and a communist, which is funny, given that he’s so nice and cares about poor people getting healthcare. But while you can demolish their case from now until Super Tuesday, the GOP have a narrative that gets traction with the public.

Obama needs a narrative of his own, and while he made a decent stab at it in Kansas last month, it needed more fear. So why doesn’t he try something like this:

  • Republicans want unfettered capitalism, but as we all know, among the many corporations that make a positive difference to the nation, there are irresponsible and unethical businessmen and companies who fire productive workers, asset-strip profitable businesses, and decimate communities, all for short-term gain that does nothing to sustain economic growth.
  • The United States has only got to the level of prosperity it enjoyed into the early twenty-first century thanks to the intervention of the Federal Government after the Depression to ensure that corporations act in the national interest and that all Americans who strive can succeed and prosper.
  • Without the New Deal, the human cost of the Depression could have been even higher. Communism was on the march across the world and without the federal government America was at risk of falling prey to it.
  • From 1932 to 1990, what defeated the Soviet Union was not a weak United States government who didn’t care about their people – it was an active and bold government that supported the rise in living standards that became the envy of the Eastern bloc, inspired its people to demand more, and led to the crumbling of the biggest existential threat to the USA we have ever known. FDR knew what effective government could do, Truman knew this, Eisenhower knew this, JFK knew this, Ronald Reagan knew this.
  • It was only when politicians started dismantling the framework that had supported long term economic growth did the markets spiral out of control and the country fall to earth with a bump.
  • If my Republican opponent becomes President and starts dismantling everything we’ve done to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis and support the American People in these difficult times, then in a decade’s time we’ll see another crisis. Next time, however, there will be no safety net.
  • The communists believed that capitalism would sow the seeds of its own downfall and clear the way for communism – this is the downfall that another banking collapse will create. For 70 years the United States kept communism at bay through a system of responsible capitalism which protects the less fortunate and restrains the worst excesses of business. We are now in danger of tearing this down.
  • My opponents have long said I’m a communist. If I were really a communist, then you’d think I would be fully behind the efforts to create unfettered capitalism, given that it would be the best way to bring about a communist society. I invite you to look at me, and look at my opponents and ask yourself: who is the real communist in this race?

Obama, you might want to find some evidence to back up the points I’ve given you here, but, judging by your opponents, you might not actually need it.

Having said all that, Mitt Romney’s challengers to the title have, much like the Tories of late, started attacking irresponsible big business as part of their populist campaign. Should Romney end up with the nomination, Obama will have Newt and Ricky P to thank for the groundwork.