I saw this video on Bill Moyer’s PBS show. It’s called the “Business of Poverty.” It deals with how businesses have made tons of money by exploiting the poor and working class through predatory lending and medical billing, among other things. Working people are suffering right now and neither Barack Obama nor John McCain is addressing their needs. While Obama was parading around Europe as a rock star, working people in America were continuing to suffer economically. Obama refuses to be a populist. Maybe that’s just not his personality or philosophy. Maybe it’s that he wants to play it safe and not offend a certain slice of the electorate. Whatever it is, he’s blowing it. Americans want to know what the president will do to solve the problem. Americans want a person who can relate to their plight. Obama is coming off as out of touch and aloof. This was apparent back in Iowa when he asked about arugula at Whole Foods to a group of confused farmers. (Arugula is not grown in Iowa and there is no Whole Foods in the whole state).
Obama has gotten his support through his great oratory skills and to capitalize on the nation’s desire for change. That’s great. That may make upper class, latte liberal vegans, academic elites, and media pundits who drive Hybrids and shop at Whole Foods wet their pants, but for most people it doesn’t do anything to help pay the bills. I don’t know what kind of advice he’s getting, but Obama is trying to play it safe. But in politics, you can’t play it safe. Look what happened to John Kerry and Al Gore.
Polls show that voters prefer Democrats over Republicans by 12%. However, Obama is underperforming as he is basically tied with John McCain. This election is tailor made for a Democrat to win. However, Obama is failing to build any substantial lead over McCain. The American people want someone who will fight for them. That’s why I supported Hillary Clinton. She was a fighter willing to fight for universal healthcare. (Obama still refuses to mandate coverage for everyone, which pleases the insurance companies). She was speaking to the everyday needs of working people struggling with their finances. She wasn’t as eloquent and charismatic as Obama. However, she connected with people and that’s why she ended up winning 9 of the last 15 primaries and won 600,000 more votes than Obama in those contests. She was resonating with working people because she addressed the bread and butter issues.
Obama with his lofty rhetoric is missing the mark. He’s starting to be more specific. However, he’s still unwilling to be a real populist who will address issues of poverty, unemployment, health care, among other things. Obama has definitely flip flopped on various issues. He is the ultimate compromiser and conciliator. However, in a time of economic uncertainty, working people need someone who will fight for them and not cave in when it’s politically expedient.
If Obama selects someone who is inexperienced like Tim Kaine or Kathleen Sebilius, it will show Obama’s arrogance. As someone who is biased and thinks that Hillary Clinton would make the best VP choice, espeically with her ability to connect with working people on economic issues, I think Obama can’t play it safe. Politics is a full contact support. Obama can’t complain that McCain and the Republicans are playing too tough. He can’t just act like he’s above the fray. Obama come back down to earth and address the real economic issues going on in this nation. Don’t think you can just point to a speech you gave in 2002 opposing the war as a state senator and think that will get you elected. Take some risks and become a populist who isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers. Gasp! You might have to take on the corporations! Who would have thunk that? Democrats have lost their backbones and it’s time for Obama to fight back and not just arrogantly say that McCain is old politics and that you’re new politics. Do you want to be president? Do you really want it? Then fight for it! It won’t be given to you! You can’t just coast to the White House.
I will be voting for Obama this November. I still believe Hillary Clinton is the better candidate. However, as a loyal Democrat, I know that we need a Democrat in the White House. But with the conditions so ripe for a Democrat to win in a landslide, Obama better not blow this election!