[lbo-talk] Democrats and government

Marv Gandall marvgand at gmail.com
Tue Aug 2 17:16:20 PDT 2011

On 2011-08-02, at 6:34 AM, Michael Pollak wrote:
> [Most of this article is beyond stale. But I liked this one line, which essentially answers the question in his title]
> http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/opinion/sunday/tuning-out-the-democrats.html
> The New York Times
> July 30, 2011
> Why Voters Tune Out Democrats
> <snip>
> In analyzing these polls in the United States, I see clearly that
> voters feel ever more estranged from government -- and that they
> associate Democrats with government. If Democrats are going to be
> encumbered by that link, they need to change voters' feelings about
> government.

Greenberg could have gone directly to the point rather than tiptoeing around it. People are not predisposed to be estranged from the state, particularly in the midst of a crisis. They're not alienated from governments if they perceive them as attentive to their immediate needs and willing to take on the rich and powerful on their behalf. If Obama, with the political momentum and a Congressional majority, had pilloried and punished the bankers and imposed tough new restrictions on their activities, had steadfastly pinned responsibility for the crisis on the Republicans and Wall Street, had provided effective mortgage relief to distressed homeowners, and spent the bulk of the stimulus on direct job creation, as a previous Democratic administration had done in similar circumstances in the 30's, I have little doubt the polls today would be yielding a different result. While some US leftists evince a grudging and misplaced admiration for Obama's sophisticated political opportunism which has presumably kept his bewildered and "whining" base captive while he pursues his own resolutely neoliberal agenda, the record shows that he and his administration have, if anything, been too clever by half, pursuing policies which have neither led to a sustainable capitalist recovery nor benefited their own partisan interests as Democrats seeking a second term.

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