The Cynicism of “Class War” in Presidential Campaign

New Orleans   Nate Silver takes a hard look at the prospects of the Obama campaign this November in the Times magazine section and concludes its good strategy to ramp up the populism.  By his numbers if Obama pushes the pop-buttons hard, the Midwest might fall in line, and then the race is won.

First, none of this has anything to do with so-called “class war.”  All of this is liberal tongue-in-cheek and a wan effort at satirizing the right-wing whacks of the Republicans who are constantly making such charges, including out of the mouths of many of the Republican presidential candidates themselves.  Unfortunately, satire works best when both sides get the joke, and these days, my view is that the Repubs are dead serious in thinking this is the real deal, Class War 3.0 or something.

Secondly, I’m having trouble finding much comfort in this sudden, late stage embrace of populism by Obama.  I worry that in the same way he quickly abandoned “hope” for “compromise” and “concession,” he will even more quickly abandon populist promises, if for no other reason than the fact that there are so few forces out there that will be willing or able to hold his feet to the fire.

Add that to the fact that the control of Congress is still up for grabs, and the Republicans could still comeback and take both houses, and other than a couple of executive orders and the occasional veto or perhaps a Supreme Court appointment, it really gives progressives very little to hold onto as they try to summon up the steam for a hard fight for another four years.

Personally, I’ll be listening not for the promises out of the President’s mouth, but some movement of the lips that seems to sound out that there were actually lessons learned and a real commitment to do different and make a difference.

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