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Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:32 PM

We Just Had a Class War



We Just Had a Class War
By Jonathan Chait

When President Obama took the stage at McCormick Place in Chicago well after midnight, we were all too wiped out with joy or depression or Nate Silver auto-refresh fatigue to pay careful attention to the speech the newly reelected president delivered. The phrase that lingered in most of our sleepy ears was the reprise of his career-launching invocation of the United States as being more than red and blue states. So soaring, so unifying. But those words were merely the trappings of magnanimity draped over an argument that was, at its core, harsher than the one he had regularly delivered during the campaign.

The telling phrase came when Obama turned away from the thank-yous and patriotic hymnals into the guts of his remarks. “Despite all our differences,” he transitioned, “most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.” The key term here is “most,” as opposed to “all”—“most” meaning less than 100 percent and possibly as little as 51 percent. He attributed to most Americans a desire for great schools, a desire to limit debt and inequality: “a generous America, a compassionate America.”

Obama then proceeded to define the American idea in a way that excludes the makers-versus-takers conception of individual responsibility propounded by Paul Ryan and the tea party. Since Obama took office, angry men in Colonial garb or on Fox News have harped on “American exceptionalism,” which boils our national virtue down to the freedom from having to subsidize some other sap’s health insurance. Obama turned this on its head. “What makes America exceptional,” he announced, “are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.” Obama invoked average Americans living out this ethos of mutual responsibility (such as a “family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors,” the example of which stands at odds with the corporate ethos of a certain ­Boston-based private-equity executive). And even the line about red states and blue states began with the following statement: “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions.”

Presumably more was at work here than mere uplift. The president was establishing the meaning of his victory. Even in the days leading up to Tuesday, clouds of dismissal had already begun to hover overhead. The election was “small,” in the words of one story in the conventional-wisdom-generating machine Politico, and “too narrow and too rooted in the Democratic base to grant him anything close to a mandate,” in the words of another. “I don’t think the Obama victory is a policy victory,” sniffed Romney adviser Kevin Hassett. “In the end what mattered was that it was about Bain and frightening people that Romney is an evil capitalist.”

-snip-

Full two page article here: http://nymag.com/news/features/obama-class-war-2012-11/




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Reply We Just Had a Class War (Original post)
Tx4obama Nov 2012 OP
jody Nov 2012 #1
msongs Nov 2012 #2
Srkdqltr Nov 2012 #3
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #4
cbrer Nov 2012 #5
Diclotican Nov 2012 #6

Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:38 PM

1. IMO we had the latest BATTLE in a class war pitting the Rule of Gold vs Golden Rule. nt

 

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:50 PM

2. and the losers have proclaimed themselves the winners. nice nt

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:11 PM

3. and Class won.

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Response to Srkdqltr (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:16 PM

4. Welcome to DU.

Yes class did win.

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:53 PM

5. Nope! We had a class battle. The war goes on... nt

 

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Response to Tx4obama (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:40 PM

6. Tx4obama

Tx4obama

It was just a battle - the war is not over yet - and it will take years, and years to win that battle.. Even here in Europe, who tend to be little more radical the war between the ones who have, and the rest is ravaging for full.. And will go on for year to come. But it was a way in the right direction, when Obama got re-elected this years...

Diclotican

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