These days individual news stories supplant one another like cards dealt from a deck. You draw an ace today but tomorrow a four. Sure Obama nabbed the world's most wanted terrorist three weeks ago, but what has he done for us lately?
What is more important than individual events is their syntax. The events are nouns and how they are handled verbs, but unless they are strung together coherently, consciously, the reader/voter doesn't understand what story you're trying to tell them.
Targeting Osama was much easier for the president because he defined his enemy as the enemy. Since apart from when he is actually campaigning he is unwilling to regard the opposition as antagonists, combating them has proven not only difficult but largely unsuccessful.
Since the opposition are unabashed cheerleaders for the top 2% untouched by this Great Recession, by not providing an equally forceful counter argument to the rest of us, it is difficult for us not to despair.
The president has done a lot of good in this first term, most notably saving the nation and the world from another full-blown Depression, but his failure to hold those same banking interests accountable for the mire of unemployment and destroyed savings we currently suffer through has clouded his entire first term and threatens to damn his legacy. When the banks and brokers were all teetering on the brink Obama was offered a perhaps once-a-century opportunity to restore fairness to our unsustainable economic system. His saving them without fixing them -- much more than race hatred -- ignited the Tea Party, which co-opted the GOP, which currently dominates domestic policy making.
A robust Consumer Financial Protection Bureau won't make up for the president's tragic missed opportunity to rein in the banks, but it could send a message that he has awakened to the problems of a middle class decimated by this recession. The poor have always struggled, but now, not only middle class, but upper-middle class Americans are making do with less and understand in more visceral ways than ever that the government is by, of and for the people in name only.
This profound cynicism in the wake of Obama's promise of hope is the president's most devastating adversary.
A first step to combat this crisis of confidence in his handling of our economy would be first to mercilessly chide Republicans for their being complicit in the continued fleecing of consumers, and then defiantly appointing Ms. Warren during the recess.
It's not class warfare for the government to protect all of its citizens from financial exploitation. It is what we assumed our government was there for in the first place. The very fact that such a simple logical step is seen as at all controversial only bitterly reinforces our despair.
Going to bat for Ms. Warren is an easy show of political force and a great way to kickoff a sustained narrative of a man willing to go to bat for the vast rest of us. From now until election day the president needs to convince the middle class and seniors that he's the only thing that stands between them and the bread line.
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