Steve was reporting on a rumor that Howard Dean would challenge Barack Obama in the Democratic primary of 2012. Of course, there is a lot of disaffection with President Obama from the left-wing of the country. And it appears that messaging has become more important than accomplishment, for the Democrats were legislatively prolific in the last term. So I have to wonder, is the criticism justified?
I’m in the ‘justified’ camp. But not for lack of pragmatism; legislation is the objective. However, consider what has happened to the country over the past three decades: voodoo economics and the Two Santa Claus Theory have become credible, American exceptionalism has expanded our military footprint to an imperial scope, and rigid political ideology has led to a winner-take-all attitude in Congress. This didn’t happen by accident; there has been a concerted messaging campaign by the right-wing to shape attitudes and shift the Overton window. Without a new, unified message to counteract the ever-surreal right-wing media machine, legislation will have little impact on the political trajectory of this country.
We all had our own interpretation of “Yes We Can” in the fall of 2008. Mine was for the return of rationality to policy-making. My criticism of President Obama mostly stems from my belief that he has badly mistaken his adversary, and is thus powerless to return that rationality. Even greater than prolific legislation would be a legacy of sound, respectful civic debate. Unfortunately, the opportunity for that legacy has probably passed.
More in the future about assimilation principles and messaging tactics.