Poppy Bush lost his bid for re-election in '92 largely because he was perceived to be too distant and disconnected from the suffering on Main Street that was the inevitable result of Reagan's pro-banker, pro-corporate, pro-Wall Street economic poolicies. Clinton won by concentrating on populist economic reform rhetoric and the whole campaign was directed by 4 famous words of James Carville's: "It's the economy, stupid." That strategy worked largely because Poppy looked disengaged and isolated from normal life. After all, he had to have barcode scanners explained to him.
Poppy was in fact disengaged and looked it. Obama is neither. He looks engaged, desperately so, and has begun to talk populist in an effort to connect to the perceived anger and disappointment of the vanishing middle class, and has even made at least one move toward changing the direction of his totally pro-bankster policies.
IT was great to see President Obama renew his focus on financial reform last week, even if it looked like an attempt to distract voters from his party's stunning loss of the Senate election in Massachusetts. Even so, by promoting the ideas of Paul Volcker - the esteemed former Federal Reserve chairman - the White House is finally elevating the discourse on how best to rein in risky behavior at banks and protect beleaguered taxpayers from future bailouts of Wall Street.
Yet, as Bob Herbert and I remarked yesterday, there's no real sense of just how bad things are, especially for the earliest and longest-suffering victims of Reaganomics and Clinton's NAFTAism, coming from either the WH or the MSM. Yet, as the NYT Editorial Board acknowledged today, things are very very very bad indeed.
More Americans are going hungry in hard times and are increasingly dependent on private charity, according to a new study by Feeding America, a national network of food banks. The study found that 37 million people - roughly one in eight Americans - had sought emergency food assistance from the network last year, a 46 percent increase from 2006.
As the recession and high unemployment take their toll, there are hungry families all across the country: in cities and suburbs, poor, middle class and even supposedly wealthy communities.
At a recent news conference on Long Island - seen as a place of suburban affluence - local charities shared stories of families struggling to stay afloat and being forced to choose among food, housing payments and utility bills. In many cases, it seems food was skimped on because hunger was easier to ignore than threatening letters from unpaid landlords or the gas company.
Yow. When it hits the Gold Coast, I guess even the NYT has to acknowledge that something bad is happening. Dig:
In the Long Island portion of the Feeding America study, researchers surveyed more than 600 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters and interviewed people who had sought food at those places. The study concluded that about 280,000 Long Islanders needed help last year, a 21 percent increase from 2006. Only a small percentage of these clients were homeless or elderly. Thirty-nine percent were children under 18.
The study found that volunteers are central to the success of emergency feeding programs. On Long Island, 88 percent of food pantries and 92 percent of soup kitchens rely on volunteers. But the news conference revealed that many of the volunteers who collected and served food have become newly hungry and jobless.
Yessir, that's Bush's "What do we need govt for? Volunteers can do it!" taken to the extremity we expected: now the volunteers are hungry, too.
Obama may be talking tough, but when the banksters threatened to block his money supply, he immediately, the day after the NYT report on how talk of regulations was making the banksters take another look at donating to the GOP again, sat down to talk to Bloomberg's Business News to tell them he had nothing whatever against monstrous Wall Street salaries and stratospheric bonuses because, you know, ballplayers get paid a lot, too.
I kid you not.
President Barack Obama said he doesn't "begrudge" the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay.
The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is "an extraordinary amount of money" for Main Street, "there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don't get to the World Series either, so I'm shocked by that as well."
[This] clarifies once and for all that he doesn't understand the very real angst out in the country and the desperate need to hold someone, somewhere, accountable for what's gone wrong. Evidently, he's perfectly content to allow the government to take the blame for the whole sorry mess.
More specifically, his government. She notes that it is very clearly a response to the banksters' threats.
Indeed, it seems to have pushed the president into publicly defending the most despised men in the country, which proves in living color just how much power those people have. Clearly, the Democrats understand their priorities and winning elections isn't one them
No? But how are they going to win elections without money? And how are they going to get money to win elections with if they govern in a way that pisses off the money? Hmmm? The contradiction between the governing that needs to happen and the demands of the people who pay for the system to NOT govern are in the starkest relief here. We can have a money-driven system which the financial elite will operate as a private and subsidiary appendix, or we can have a government by and for the people as a whole. Clearly, we can't have both, and just as clearly Obama has decided whose side he's going to go with.