Hey Obama: Defend the social safety net, win big in 2012


Historian Rick Perlstein told Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball that President Obama needs to go powerfully on the defensive, defending the social safety net Republicans are working hard to shred.

You’ll note Matthews opened up the discussion showing FDR’s defense of Social Security from 1936, the same one carried here at the bathtub a few weeks ago.

Good advice, I think.  I hope Obama and his advisors pay attention.

(You can watch it at Hardball’s site, here — better quality video.)

One of the triggers of this piece was Perlstein’s article in Time Magaizine’s Swampland, “How Democrats Win:  Defending the Social Safety Net.” 

Tip of the old scrub brush to Harold Pollack at the Reality-based Community.

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6 Responses to Hey Obama: Defend the social safety net, win big in 2012

  1. Lars says:

    No one wears a hat in a tub, usually….

    My ex did. A fedora. Quite a pretty sight, actually.

    And Ed Ricketts (upon whom the character of Doc was based, in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row) was reputed to wear a sou’wester hat in the shower, as he liked to be clean but hated getting his head wet.

    Like

  2. Jim says:

    Ed says,

    “Social Security, clean air, clean and safe water, no poverty for the aged, reduced poverty, better educational opportunities that produce more college graduates who fuel the dramatic expansion of our economy — yeah, Democrats did all of those. And Republicans opposed them.”

    In many cases, Republicans opposed them outright. But not all. Not Jacob Javits. Not Mark Hatfield. Not Amo Houghton or Chuck Percy. But yes, Ed. A great many of them DID. And today, I cannot name a single Republican who currently holds elective office who advocates for any of those things…for everyone.

    And there’s the rub. Clean air, safe water and a safe food supply are ideas Caribou Barbie and Governor Goodhair both support. They want those things. For those who can afford them. Those who are too poor to afford them (or decent health care or education) can pound sand. It’s their own damn fault for being poor.

    If the poor had an ounce of integrity, they would work four or five or six jobs to make it happen. But instead, they just keep queueing up to suckle at the teat of big gub’mint. Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee. That’s all you hear from the poor and minorities.

    And while none of what is written in the paragraph immediate above this one is actually true, it certainly IS what anarchists, Libertarians, and modern Republicans keep on saying.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    In this case, the best offense is a good defense of doing the right thing. I was struck by Perlstein’s story about the Kennedy-Nixon debate. We all remember how Nixon looked nervous, with perspiration on his upper lip, especially. If you read The Selling of the President about Nixon’s 1968 campaign, you may remember with me that the supposed difference between 1960 and 1968 was a makeup artist making Nixon look good in 1968.

    But Perlstein said Kennedy had just led into Nixon’s statement with something that would make any Republican of the time — or now — nervous. Kennedy said he was going to propose what eventually became Medicare, and he reminded voters that he had pledged to stand for Social Security and union rights, programs that Democrats had proposed in the past, and which made life better. Oh, and by the way, Kennedy added, Republicans had opposed those programs tooth and nail, hammer and tong.

    No wonder Nixon was sweating.

    I’d like to see the Republican nominee sweating the same way. Rick Perry might not be smart enough to figure out why to sweat, but if his social skills are as good as he thinks they are, he’ll sweat anyway.

    Social Security, clean air, clean and safe water, no poverty for the aged, reduced poverty, better educational opportunities that produce more college graduates who fuel the dramatic expansion of our economy — yeah, Democrats did all of those. And Republicans opposed them.

    Got a healthy baby? Democrats provided the programs to make maternity wards common. Republicans opposed them. Got an aged parent on Medicare? You know that story. Know some kid who was smart but couldn’t afford college, and now he’s your lawyer, or physician, or dentist, or physical therapist — and Republicans opposed the laws that made the educational grants that got them there.

    Regulation makes America cleaner, healthier, stronger, fairer to workers and pension holders, and fairer to consumers. It’s not a bad idea — it needs to be defended.

    The “regulatory onslaught?” It’s not costing jobs — there is no such thing. But Republicans think that we should let banks off the hook after they gambled our money away, let oil companies off the hook after they killed business in the Gulf of Mexico and polluted the Yellowstone River? Are you kidding me?

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  4. Did you mean to say “Go on the offensive” on this one? He needs to do some communicating, his supposed number one skill. And he needs to communicate to the people that pushed to get him in office in the first place. If he just thinks he can campaign on a platform of “I am not as crazy as the Republicans,” the progressives are just going to say “meh,” maybe fill the circle next to his name and then decide that grass roots politics are a waste of time for progressives.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    This is a Bathtub, you know. No one wears a hat in a tub, usually.

    Like

  6. Harold Pollack says:

    Tip of the old scrub brush?

    Like

Play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes.

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