12 June 2012

Progressive Message to Obama Campaign: Get with a strong pro-1% Narrative or We Will Lose This

I agree with Les Leopold, who has an interesting interview with Ian Masters on ianmasters.com for June 7. He outlines what I think of as an essential progressive message to the Obama campaign. Forget about "progressive disappointment" that we didn't get perfect health care, etc. The issue is, what do we have to do now to win this damn election and move forward. Because that's far from a sure thing. Let me try to state it succinctly.

You are going to lose this if you don’t come up with a stronger narrative right away.

The Republicans’ narrative is strong. The fact that it is entirely false doesn’t matter — it will work if we don’t come up with our own strong messaging.

The propagandists for the Plutocrat party say the deficit was caused by Obama’s spending (false), that it’s what caused the Depression (false), & that lower taxes for the wealthy and lax enforcement of financial, labor, and environmental laws and regulation will help ease unemployment (false). But all of this seems to make sense to a lot of people, and they are buying it. Romney is winning the message war, and if this isn’t reversed, not only will he likely win in November. But even if Obama manages to win, there will be virtually no coattail effect and we will have gridlock and default de facto austerity, regardless, which will be a total disaster for the vast majority of Americans.

The narrative must be simple, and it must involve a drastic change of focus, and the abandonment of any attempt to be, as Jamie Galbraith puts it, the party of both the predators and the prey. The Democratic party must abandon the 1%; forget about wooing them for financial support. The president should carefully study the speeches of Franklin Roosevelt, especially from 1936. He must come out forcefully for the 99% and against the financial and corporate elites.

These should be the points:

  • Wall Street Caused this Great Recession, and it must pay for getting us out of it.
(Elimination of carried interest, significant increase in taxes on wealthiest, modest transaction tax; regulations to end derivatives fraud and rein in excesses).
  • The richest must pay their fair share.  
  • We must invest in America now, in order to restore prosperity.
(Austerity does not work and will not end the Depression.... see Paul Krugman on this issue).
  • We must reform Financial Regulation and Taxes on finance and the biggest corporations to create jobs and ensure basic security, medical care, and education for our people.
(Tax and anti-fraud enforcement and regulation means more revenue and greater financial stability, Republicans want to make fraud in the financial sector business as usual, which means bigger deficits and more instability = bubbles and crashes). 
  • The Republicans are lying to the American people: what they propose will mean more for the richest, less for everyone else. What we want is honest, clean government that enforces the law and makes everyone play by the rules.
  • We are asking for your outrage: take to the streets to show you demand change, and vote for the president and for Democrats at all levels, who will enact it.
It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that, but it needs to be hammered home again and again, consistently, without muddling, without equivocation, and without retreat.

Otherwise, I fear the situation is dire, and we will see things get a whole lot worse in this country long before they get any better.

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