Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hillary packs a punch in Scranton

In primary season, Barack Obama proved himself a much better speechmaker than Hillary Clinton. But in Scranton today, Hillary's attack on Bush-McCainonmics packed a stronger populist punch than Obama's usual fare. Her riff below shares a core theme of Obama's: that "prosperity" isn't real or sustainable unless it's shared. But it's got a couple of zingers he could do worse than borrow.

In the runup, she spun a narrative in which Republicans ignored the housing crisis, despite her warnings and proposals (no mention of Obama's), but sprang to action when the crisis hit the banks. Then this:

According to the Republicans in this new global economy, America can’t win unless most Americans lose. It makes absolutely no sense, but that is truly what they believe. That’s why they ignored the home mortgage crisis until it became a financial crisis.

That’s why John McCain and has even proposed more tax cuts for the oil companies and the drug companies. That’s why John McCain has said repeatedly that the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Because to John McCain and George Bush the middle class isn’t fundamental, it’s ornamental. They don’t understand that we are at the core of whether this country goes up or down.

That’s why my friends sending the Republicans to solve this economic crisis is like sending the bull to clean up the china closet. They broke it and we’re not buying it anymore. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be leaders who will lead us out of this economic crisis. They will once again clean up this economic mess that Republicans have left behind.

In case anybody doubts we can do this – I want you to think back. By the close of the Clinton Administration, America had created 22 million new jobs. Our nation had built an economy with the lowest child poverty rate in 20 years. Wages were rising and prosperity was shared. We produced a balanced budget and a budget surplus.

Now, 8 years later we have to add a digit to the national debt clock. It took a Democratic President to clean up after the last President Bush. It’s going to take a Democratic President to clean up after this President.

Make no mistake about it and we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again. America will once again rise from the ashes of the Bushes.

Back in March, Obama offered a memorable diagnosis of the financial crisis: ""What was bad for Main Street was bad for Wall Street. Pain trickled up." It was vintage Obama: a cerebral cause-and-effect narrative. Hillary transcribes the diagnosis of trickle-down economics into pure populism: According to the Republicans in this new global economy, America can’t win unless most Americans lose. That's gold. The middle class isn’t fundamental, it’s ornamental [to McCain and Bush] is silver. "Sending the Republicans to solve this economic crisis is like sending the bull to clean up the china closet" is copper -- pedestrian but solid fare. "America will once again rise from the ashes of the Bushes" -- pithy, but unfair to the elder Bush.. In any case, going back two decades to attack Poppy serves the Clinton's interests, not Obama's -- it dilutes the overwhelming case against W. and "more of the same" McCain.

For Obama, the middle class is "you"; for Hillary, it's "we." Bogus, but in the later primaries the Appalachian belt seemed to buy it. The speech was larded with references to her grandfather buried in Scranton, his elementary school education, etc. etc.

Bill, btw, delivered a warmup almost straight out of Saturday Night Live. He showered some praise on Biden but had practically nothing good to say about Obama. Bill "endorsed" him essentially as a fill-in-the-blank Democrat.

1 comment:

  1. Obama's claim that Bill was not a "transformational" president was a torpedo to Bill's ego. Bubba cannot get over it.

    ReplyDelete

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