11 June 2013

No off-year for fundraising

The President sent me a begging letter this week. It's been a while, but then again I didn't really expect any right away. Special elections aside, Congress won't be in play until next year. But I was naive to think there was such a thing as "too early" when it comes to political fundraising.

The chief executive writes on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Their object is to strengthen the Democratic majority in the upper house at the 2014 elections. That's a tall order, since most observers expect the President's party to lose seats, and some Republican optimists anticipate a takeover. Campaign donations are a form of gambling, however, so the odds against success may not deter many people. For the uncertain, Obama explains that "This is a crucial moment that will determine whether or not we can restore the security that the middle class has lost. It's a moment where [sic?] we must decide whether the next step we take will be forward or backward." He reminds us that Republicans espouse "trickle-down" economics while denying climate change. To sum up, "Republicans in Washington aren't in it for you."

After the revelations of this spring, more people may wonder whether the Democrats are in it for them, either, or whether "reasons of state" will impel any government to pursue its own interests at the expense or risk of the people's. This administration would rather we ignore such questions and think of their agenda of "building and strengthening the middle class and demanding equality for each and every American citizen." Does it strike you as inconsistent to talk about "equality for each and every American citizen" while also talking about a "middle class" as implicitly distinct from both an upper and a lower class? If there are people below the middle class, shouldn't it be a more immediate priority to build and strengthen them? If Obama is right that "our goal as a country has always been to ensure that every single American gets a fair shot at the American Dream," do we really need to start at the middle? I know that "middle class" is a flattering euphemism Democrats use, but won't it help sometimes to call things by their real names, or at least by more accurate ones? Most Republicans are absolutely honest when they also say that they're committed to what Obama calls "a rising, thriving middle class," though it may be just as unclear whom, exactly, they mean by that term. Millionaires may be middle class as far as some Republicans are concerned. But rather than quibble over definitions, let's recall the millions of Americans who remain jobless and agree that, no matter what either party wants to say, they are not middle class, at least right now. Agree on that and all the rhetoric about the middle class will seem beside the point. Someone should tell that to the President's letter-writers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since so many of us are NOT part of the middle class and we are voters, we must ask "What's in it for us, Mr. President?" and "When will YOU and your Democrat cohorts actually stand up to corporate America on OUR behalf?"