Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Two Unsung Heroes of 2012 and One Sung One

Individuals matter!  Oh boy, do they!  And so does a crowd acting in unity.

In the 2012 campaign, the video of Romney attacking "the 47%" in a speech at a Florida fundraiser certainly helped solidify his image as the man who couldn't care less about people with problems.  Or the old.  Or the sick.  The ones he and Paul Ryan call "the takers".

But who took the footage of Romney destroying himself?  I have hoped it was one of the workers at the posh fundraiser.  That would be quite cool.

And it was!

The bartender did it!  (A nice variant on "the butler did it"?)  You can meet this hero tonight on MSNBC's The Ed Show.

Let's drink a toast to the bartender!  The drinks are on me!

The other unsung hero of the 2012 campaign is actually rooted in 2011.  I mean the almost-forgotten Occupy Wall Street.  Yes, there was more than one person in OWS  -  a horde, in fact  -  but in their emphasis they moved as one force and made a major contribution.  They focused the election on its real issue:  the economic plight of the vast majority of Americans. Their articulation of the 1% v. the 99% gave the whole campaign its emotional ground.  When people kept insisting to pollsters that Obama and not Romney most identified with their concerns they did so in large part because Occupy Wall Street had made clear what those concerns were.  Until OWS the problems of a shrinking middle class and the greed of the "haves" were just dry numbers for statisticians, ignored by the media.  OWS made it all very real and exposed the pain in a way the media could not ignore.  Americans are very patient and quietly brave people.  Often they don't know they have a legitimate complaint until they find out others are suffering too.  OWS told us what was wrong.

And  -  much to his credit  -  Obama picked up on what OWS had been saying and doing.  In the fall of 2011 he gave a populist speech in the Midwest that set the tone for all of 2012.  He boldly became what he had quietly been all along  -   a community organizer, a man of the people.  Only now people could see it and hear it.  Until then,  Democrats in general had been shy of their old image as fighters for the folks.  But hard times are back for the folks, and if the Democrats don't fight for them, who will?

OWS and the Florida bartender are the bookends of the campaign, the alpha and the omega.  But in the middle is the third hero, the man who had the good sense to recognize what was going on and the courage to do what had to be done.  That hero is Obama himself.  It took guts to openly espouse the cause of the many versus the few.

You don't believe it took guts?  Remember the scolding he got at the time from the Democratic party's buddies of the fat cats?  Among those scolding Obama were Cory Booker, Harold Ford, Jr.,  and other East Coast Democratic pals of Wall Street contributors.  And you can bet your bottom dollar that behind the scenes other pals of the rich Wall Street donors were similarly furious with Obama, among them Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein.  And probably most furious of all were Bill and Hilary Clinton and their whole coterie.  The Clintons never met a big fat cat they didn't love and a business-favorable break they couldn't espouse.  (Who do you think gave you a lot of deregulation?)  And these are just some of the powerful Democrats who have for decades protected the 15% income tax rate for hedge fund managers and other fat cats.  In terms of policy these Democratic leaders have been taxpayer Mitt Romney's best friends!

Obama just ignored the party's power brokers.  He did what he had to do  -   the right thing  -   and stayed with his populist message.  And he won. We all won.  Now what, you ask.  Will the fat-cat-favoring Democrats ever allow him or other true Democrats to change things like the 15% tax rule for the fat cats?  Probably not.  Perhaps that can become a key issue in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, but that's another topic for another time.

So, for now, let's lift a glass to President Obama, the wise man who made the right move.  And let's lift a glass to the OWS because we haven't already done so.  And then maybe another toast to The Bartender Who Beat the Bully?  And then..... we'll all be in a fine mood to sing the unsung!

And the drinks  -  all of them!  -  are on me.        




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