7.04.2008

Public Opinion Is On His Side

I appreciate the comments to yesterday's blog. (To read them, click on "comments" at the bottom of the entry.)

I'm not suggesting, mind you, that Obama needn't reach out to the red states. He needs to go easy on socially charged issues, and he needs to show that he has a grasp of military and foreign affairs. Politics in America means cobbling together coalitions; that's what democracy demands. I just want him to remember the following stats:

65% of Americans currently think the U.S. should "decrease" or "remove" troops from Iraq (pollster.com).

69% of Americans "think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage" (Gallup).

72% of Americans describe the economy as "only fair" or "poor" (Gallup). Yet 49% believe that environmental protection should be given priority, "even at the risk of curbing economic growth," compared to 44% who favor economic growth over environmental protection (CNN).

Even in 2005, 69 percent of Americans thought “investing in education and training would be a more effective way to grow the country’s economy than cutting taxes" (Feldman Group poll).

The American public supports federal government assistance to homeowners “caught between rising mortgage payments and falling home values” by 60 percent to 25 percent (Center for American Progress). 63 percent agree that "lack of regulation is partly responsible for the current financial and housing crisis."

The point is that there is a broad base of dissatisfaction with rightwing economic and foreign policy. Obama should be tapping into that dissatisfaction with some visionary proposals, not spending his time responding to McCain or tinkering with conservative policies. Obama needs to attack the failures of modern conservatism: the incredible polarization of wealth and poverty, the lack of economic progress for the middle class, the unchecked costs of college education, the 48 million uninsured (and the rest of us battling with a bureaucratic "marketplace" system that even our doctors despise), the collapse of U.S. infrastructure, the unmonitored, graft-ridden spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, the beefing up of presidential power, and so forth and so on. He needs to press his primary campaign onto the larger stage, not rewrite his script.

Here's what Paul Krugman has to say in The Conscience of a Liberal: "To be a progressive. . . means being a partisan — at least for now. The only way a progressive agenda can be enacted . . . [is by making] opponents of the progressive agenda pay a political price for their obstructionism . . .”

4 Comments:

Blogger Fred Mindlin said...

I think there's a lot to be gained from bringing back the 50's terminology that I grew up with, where a human focused public policy stance is called progressive, and the right wing obstructionists are "reactionary."

They're really been reacting to the New Deal ever since, with no constructive results, ever, and Obama should be adept enough to carry the day with common sense progressivism.

Let's hope...

3:15 PM  
Blogger Lao Qiao said...

Is he Baruch Obama, with a Jewish name? Is he Barack Hussein Obama, with three Islamic names? I think he may be Benedict O'Bama, a fundamentalist Christian. That's why he spent all those years at the Trinity Church; he believed in the Christian dogma being preached there. That's why he supports the Supreme Court ruling on guns. That's why he supports the use of federal funds for Christian charities.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous bob cartwright said...

During my hopeful moments, I think that maybe, just maybe, American progressives can stop listening to what they're told to believe on TV, radio and magazines and books, and begin to put clear vision in front of blind hope.

It's not possible to put Democrats "feet to the fire" as at least one commentator suggested. The rich who rule simply have too much wealth and power to make sure that any and all Democrats fulfill their roles which is to protect the interests of those same rich and powerful. Obama is no different. He's not moving to the right to gather in votes, he's moving to the right so that the powers that be can understand that he's not going to do anything that goes against their interests, regardless of what he had to say to secure the nomination.

When I really feel more clear sighted, I tend to realize that come hell or high water, the vast majority of American progressives will continue not only to fall for the same garbage from yet another Democrat (and continue to vote for them) but will make one excuse after another to try to make everyone feel "He's just doing what's necessary to get the votes" while they misuse the phrase "electoral coalition building" as a euphemism for following the dictates of the wealthy and powerful instead of responding to the needs of ordinary working people who happen to make up the vast majority of the electorate.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Israel Seen said...

Why is there such a need to demonize the other to get your points heard. It is very disturbing that those policies you disagree with are "right-wing" or "reactionary" and your policy interests are "progressive". I think that until you stop with these kind of tactics and questionable poll results that satisfy your view points nothing much will CHANGE in America. You can demonize capitalism and conservatism but you have not given us one reason to support left-wing policies that will make our world a better place to live.
Obama has it right. In order to win he must give up his principles."Yes we can" Change is blowing in the wind.

8:12 AM  

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