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William Jennings Obama Seeks to Save Massachusetts Seat (John Nichols, The Nation)

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:51 PM
Original message
William Jennings Obama Seeks to Save Massachusetts Seat (John Nichols, The Nation)
I love what he wrote about Obama's populist message and rabble-rousing versus "the former male model who now dresses in work-shirt drag."

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/517820/william_j...

A suddenly populist Barack Obama tore into the Republicans for siding with banks rather than consumers and taxpayers Sunday in Boston, hoping that his fiery rhetoric would revive the candidacy of embattled Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley.

Coakley, who is in a tight race to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy, was not supposed to be in trouble in Tuesday's special election. But late polls suggests that Republican Scott Brown had moved even or perhaps ahead among likely voters in the usually blue state of Massachusetts.

Brown is in the running for two reasons: Coakley has run an exceptionally cautious campaign while the Republicans have succeeded in stirring anger over a health-care reform plan that seems to promise more in the way of bureaucracy and cost than real reform.

Of course, Brown is no reformer.

The former male model who now dresses in work-shirt drag and drives a pick-up truck is merely a savvy practitioner of the "party of no" strategy that Republicans have adopted going into a 2010 election cycle when they hope to reposition their party as an alternative for Americans who are frustrated by economic uncertainty and a sense that Washington is more interested in helping Wall Street than Main Street.

So Obama came to Massachusetts to stand squarely in the middle of Main Street.

Noting the fact that Brown has said he would oppose new taxes on big banks -- many of which are recording high profits and paying record bonuses -- Obama ripped into the Republican.

"We asked Martha's opponent, what's he going to do, and he decided to park his truck on Wall Street," Obama told 1,500 cheering Coakley backers. "Let me be clear: Bankers don't need another vote in the United States Senate. They've got plenty."

The president is hoping that populism will turn the tide for Coakley and save the 60th seat in the Senate for Democrats.

If it does, the turn of the Democrats toward the politics of William Jennings Bryan probably will deserve a good deal of the credit.

Let's just hope they remember that it was rabble-rousing, not caution and compromise, they did the job.

If Coakley loses, it will be because she and the Democrats were too slow to focus on the economy and jobs -- and a populist promise to put Americans back to work before putting speculators and CEOs back in the high life.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nor, Mr. President, do bankers need more friends in the cabinet or Oval Office.
They've got plenty.

Better late than never on that populism, I guess...
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. +1
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yourout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. He sure talks the talk.....I wish he would walk the walk.
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I have to hope he's listening to Howard Dean again. Especially after recent polls.
So far I haven't seen any reports of snarky comments about Dean from either named or unnamed White House sources, and that's a good sign, I think.
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PurityOfEssence Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. All things to all people
ain't nothin' to nobody.

Lest we forget, too, Bryan was an ultra-religious nut who infused his politics with religion; interesting comparison, non?

He's very much whatever the particular audience wants and needs, and with this well-rehearsed one trick, he's gone very far. The problem is that he's a campaigner, not a leader. We shall see, but the constant refrain from his stalwarts that he'll turn on his heel one fine day and show the big meanies of entrenched money and power what he really stands for is getting to be more and more a joke. Never has so much been bet on the future performance of one whose past is so very consistently risk-adverse and corporate-friendly.

At least he says things like this SOMEWHERE; hopefully he can see the value of the left before it turns its collective back on him.
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burning rain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. A bigger problem than lefties turning their backs--in terms of votes--....
are voters in the unstable center turning theirs. Such voters are not only more numerous, but have less ideological commitment to the Democratic Party, and the only real "hook" we have in them is economic left-populism. If we give that up, they're largely lost to us, while lefties are more likely to come around and at least vote Democratic, however grudgingly, over social issues, court picks, and the like.
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coti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Dead on.
It's about independents much more than it is "the left."

You can see the "Brown is so much worse than Coakley" argument being fairly effective in places like DU. That's not going to sway those without party affiliation.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Tell that to Rahm Emmanuel
Although I suspect he'd tell you to go f*** yourself.
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PurityOfEssence Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. Which leads to the same conclusion...
Yes, your point is well taken: those who believe in something rather than believe in someone or some organization are going to be actuality-oriented and disgusted by the shilly-shallying favor-currying of ultramoderates who really only seek the continuation of control. Even though life exists in the middle, we ARE defined by our extremists, and much as ideologues are tiresome and often counterproductive, they DO actually stand for something, unlike the Clintonian-Obamian molly-coddlers and glad-handers.

There has been a dangerous miscalculation by Obama and this Administration: they were swept into power by a tide of frustration, and the expectation at hand was that they were going to be different. On far too many counts, they simply aren't. It's one thing to be disillusioned at mealy-mouthed appeasers, but it rankles much more when these politicians made a grandstanding ballyhoo about being "new" and "different". Somehow the same-old same-old doesn't sting as much when it comes from some party hack who never really promised that much, but the danger of Obama is that he reveled in being the blank slate onto whom everyone could write his/her dearest hopes and dreams. That's a simple recipe for broad-spectrum disappointment.

Irony awaits us as Obama gets blamed for the unemployment that was caused by the reactionaries who've run this country for the past almost thirty years. He could have done more to contain the problem, but it would have meant a WPA-like set of policies that directly hired people, and he simply can't bring himself to do this out of fear of the private enterprise ideologues and possibly more inherent corporatism than people would like to believe. Leading is much different from campaigning; it's a lesson he may never learn.
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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. Deeds are more important than words. Obama and the Hill Dems
have to shed the Image they are now the protectors of Big Business
abd Wall Street, --I fear words are not enough. People
see that HCR as a sweet gift to Insurance Industry.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:43 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's not too late for a course correction Mr. President. nt
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coti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. It's just talk- he won't change his policies. nt
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. I know. :( nevertheless, hope springs eternal (no wonder he campaigned on it). Belated welcome! nt
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Midwestern Democrat Donating Member (238 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. Nothing new - Democrats always turn to populism on the campaign
trail when they're in trouble. Populism is scorned by "New Democrat" types at all other times, but I've seen enough elections to know that they are willing to turn to it when they get in trouble - Al Gore's sudden "populism" in 2000 - prompted I suspect by trailing Bush by as much as 15 percentage points - is a case in point.
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