Track changes and the left
Forty years after the Powell memo outlined a plan for right wing power in America, the permanent Republican majority is in sight. The packed Supreme Court seems ready to invalidate the voting rights act to protect successful gerrymandering that has boosted the GOP to control of the House of Representatives. Reagan and the two Bushes loaded the public with debt and damaged the functioning of government, perhaps permanently. The press is on board and works overtime to sell right wing ideology to a public that has seen its access to education systematically devastated. The reverses that saw first Nancy Pelosi take over the House of Representatives and then Barack Obama win an unlikely campaign for President are being addressed via Citizens united, voter suppression, and an intensified PR campaign. Fortunately for the side of justice and truth, the American Left is ready to ride into battle and - complain about the wording in President Obama’s speeches. Like vigilant middle managers with not much to do or academics who find their pupils don’t really deserve them, left pundits eagerly turn on “track changes” and set to work on the poor effort submitted by the confused black guy, hired via affirmative action no doubt.
Today’s Exhibit A, sadly, is our president, who repeatedly calls for “shared sacrifice” in resolving the economic crisis and the related fiscal deficit. Though a call for shared sacrifice, in the hands of idiot pollsters, tests well at the level of civic platitude, in these economic times a Democrat should never simply call for shared sacrifice. - Bob Kuttner
Tsk, Tsk. It’s so exasperating to try to tutor this guy. Mr. Kuttner tries to find reason to to hope: “On Friday, at Obama’s most recent press conference, I thought I detected a learning curve”, and “if you are inclined to cut Obama a lot of slack, you might blame the speechwriters and the likelihood that different handlers prepped him for the Friday press conference”. But, really, one must have standards and Mr. Kuttner is forced to give the President a D- and conclude he lacks an “inner compass”. By the way, this is how Franklin Roosevelt put it:
I know the American farmer, the American workman, and the American businessman. I know that they will gladly embrace this economy and equality of sacrifice-satisfied that it is necessary for the most vital and compelling motive in all their lives-winning through to victory.
He didn’t know jack about communication either. And Paul Krugman spots the President using the household budget metaphor in the budget debate! In a note titled: “Barack Herbert Hoover Obama” he writes:
This is truly a tragedy: the great progressive hope (well, I did warn people) is falling all over himself to endorse right-wing economic fallacies.
My Goodness, Obama is using the wrong metaphor! Didn’t he read the style guide? It’s right there on page 43 - “don’t compare the government budget to a family budget”. Because faced with a highly organized, highly ideological right wing that has been building organization and digging into power for 40 years, it’s imperative that people with no experience in elections or expertise in public marketing go out and lecture the President on his wording in the most condescending and demeaning fashion possible. John L. Lewis must be smiling in his grave at such tactical brilliance.