Tales from the Trail

Obama to middle class: Who loves you?

October 30, 2011

The middle class is back.

Amid the din of Republican cries of class warfare, the Occupy Wall Street movement and a fresh economic report that America’s rich are getting much, much richer, one phrase punctuated weekend remarks from President Barack Obama and his campaign strategists: the middle class.

As the Democratic president struggles to reconnect with his base — liberals, black Americans and younger voters — he is taking up the middle class mantra to target the crucial voting bloc.

This weekend there was no escaping who the Obama team’s message was aimed at.

Obama used “middle class” five times in his radio broadcast on Saturday that cited a new report on U.S. income inequality from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

In acknowledging the country’s growing income gap: “In fact, the average income for the top 1 percent of Americans has risen almost seven times faster than the income of the average middle-class family.”

In touting his $447 billion jobs plan: “But there are steps we can take right now to put people back to work and restore some of the security that middle-class Americans have lost over the last few decades.”

In rolling out a series of economic initiatives last week: “The truth is, we can no longer wait for Congress to do its job. The middle-class families who’ve been struggling for years are tired of waiting. They need help now. So where Congress won’t act, I will.”

It was reminiscent of  the last Democratic president to win re-election. Bill Clinton heavily courted struggling middle-class voters in 1996 and also pushed through a number of initiatives via executive order in the face of Republican opposition in Congress.

But Obama has faced some challenges in winning over blue-collar voters who were a base of support for Clinton in 1996. In Rust Belt states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, economic anxiety has cost Obama support among some of those voters.

Obama’s senior campaign strategist David Axelrod took up the mantra Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying middle-class plight was about wages, not just jobs, and will require long-term attention to improve and stay that way.

Axelrod said he expected the middle class to be crucial in Obama’s push to retain the White House next year.

Senior White House adviser David Plouffe, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” mentioned “the middle class” a whopping 15 times, with six of those references tied to tax cuts.

Obama, faced with looming budget deficits that threatened the stellar U.S. credit rating over the summer, has called
for higher taxes on the wealthy and big corporations as part of $3.6 trillion in deficit cuts over 10 years.

Reuters photo by Jason Reed (The First Couple with the owners of Wood’s Orchard where the Obamas picked Halloween pumpkins in Hampton, Virginia October 19, 2011, on his bus trip to promote his American Jobs Act)

Comments
18 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Neither party love the middle class. One party sides with the very rich and the other, the very poor. But the middle class are left to subsidize both.

Posted by actnow | Report as abusive
 

Obama hates the middle class. This is just a campaign stunt. Make the rich richer and shove social services down your throughts all on the backs of the middle class.

Posted by EagleDriver | Report as abusive
 

EagleDriver you are right on! The really sad part is – no one cares about the middleclass. And, there is a lot that needs to change, where is the reset button?

Posted by tgtnft | Report as abusive
 

He’s had 3 years to create these jobs, but where are they? We don’t need higher paying union jobs, we need jobs, period. Tax the corporations who have outsourced jobs overseas until their eyes bleed, and the jobs will come back home. It really isn’t rocket science. It’s not the only answer, but make it painful for those who put us in this situation. And, forget about the green stuff for now, we’re just throwing money away at this time. Revisit it later, it is not ready for prime time.

Posted by somethingstinks | Report as abusive
 

Another campain move for Obama. I hope the middle class can see that it’s all a ploy and if re-elected nothing will change.

Posted by conserfolife | Report as abusive
 

Obama, we like you and your family, but we believe well done is better than well said-we do expect results and you appear to be too far to the left and a divider! Next!

Posted by DrJJJJ | Report as abusive
 

Obama, we like you and your family, but we believe well done is better than well said-we do expect results and you appear to be too far to the left and a divider! Next!

Posted by DrJJJJ | Report as abusive
 

He’s had 3 years to create these jobs, but where are they? That’s a good question. Did he try to create an environment that would stop the hemmoraging of jobs and turn the economy around? Yes. Was he successful? That depends on who you ask.
One of the first debates of the Obama era began immediately after the president’s inauguration, when many prominent Republican voices agreed that they “hope Obama fails.” The main difference between then and now is that these same voices are in a position to ensure the president fails by blocking measures that would benefit the country — in many cases, measures Republicans supported until Obama said he agreed with them.
Republicans said a payroll tax cut would help create jobs, but now they’re opposed to their own idea. Republicans said the Economic Development Administration is great for the economy, and now they’re opposed to that, too. Republicans have traditionally supported infrastructure investment, but the “infrastructure bank” has been killed by the GOP. Many Republicans endorsed the TANF Emergency Fund last year as an effective method of lowering unemployment, and the congressional GOP killed that, too.
Republicans are still blocking qualified Treasury Department nominees who could be working on economic policy. Republicans are blocking qualified Federal Reserve nominees who could help improve the economy, while demanding that the Fed do nothing to promote economic activity. The GOP is demanding that Congress and the White House agree to immediately take money out of the economy and eliminate public-sector jobs, even when conservative economists say that’s a very bad idea. What’s more, these same Republican officials have made it abundantly clear that failure to give them the cuts they want would force them to crash the economy on purpose.
And it’s against this backdrop that the most powerful Republican on Capitol Hill has stated, more than once, that his “top priority” isn’t job creation, but “denying President Obama a second term in office.” And it’s also against this backdrop that the right continues to call Obama “too far to the left and a divider.”
To some of them, perhaps, Obama seems too far to the left. But to these people, so was Augusto Pinochet.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive
 

Getplaning — Come on, the man had overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate for nearly two years. When Pres. Bush failed to get things done and Republican supporters blamed Democrats in Congress for blocking stuff, they were rightfully laughed at, especially when he had Republican majorities in the House and Senate. It doesn’t hold water. It doesn’t matter what Republicans say, they were marginalized to the point of being irrelevant at the start of Pres. Obama’s term.

He lost support when he decided to forget about the economy for an entire year to go after the Holy Grail of health care reform. That turned into a muddled mess, and created even more uncertainty among businesses at a time when uncertainty was needed least. Even Democrats in conservative states are opposing his plans now. How does that fit into the “it’s all the Republicans’ fault” talking point?

Pres. Obama is a nice man and, I believe, well intentioned, but clearly he is in way over his head in the shark tank that is Washington DC.

Posted by IMOFee | Report as abusive
 

Republicans have never been marginalized, and Democrats only had an “overwhelming majority” in the Senate for a short period of time. Republicans have broken every record for use of the filibuster and broken every record for blocking appointments to important offices.
Republicans like to say were marginalized to the point of irrelevancy, but it is only Republican policy positions that are so unpopular as to be irrelevant. But requiring a cloture vote on every single peice of legislation has kept Republicans very relevant.
Obama lost support when he allowed health care reform to be hijacked by lobbyists from Big Pharma and Big Insurance. The two thousand page bill that conservatives like to complain about was authored by none other than former Wellpoint Vice President Liz Fowler.
It is healthcare costs that make American business uncompetitive in the global economy. Obama was right to attempt to tackle it first. But corporate America was not about to see it’s most cherished monopoly broken up, and every single Republican voted against it, even though it was largely the exact same plan they themselves offered just a few years ago.
So yes, “it’s all Republicans’ fault” because they have placed party over country and are very straightforward about it. America’s credit downgraded? Unemployment still high? Forclosures still rising? Congress with a 10% apporval rating? None of it matters, as long as Obama is a one term president.
Personally, I agree with your last paragraph. Obama seems outgunned in Washington. But rather than give the guy a hand, the GOP has decided to declare war. The whole country is paying the price.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive
 

Republicans better realize that the Revolution has already started. It, hopefully, will not end in bloodshed, but the beginning shots have been fired via OWS, and the hue and cry of the middle class. If the republicans really think they are going to have any success with a republican presidency they need to remember all the roadblocks, and “NO” votes they bombarded Obama with that have made his presidency so difficult. The filibuster has made the passing of any meaningful legislation nearly impossible. Both parties better put their heads together and find a way to compromise and make things start working again. I don’t think they realize that this is what Americans are so angry about. It’s very obvious.

Posted by RangerDan | Report as abusive
 

The first post by actnow is true and well said.

Posted by PessimistNJ | Report as abusive
 

What they will do is raise taxes on rich, cut them on middle class, then devalue currency with inflation pushing more people up into higher brackets.
With more and more companies moving overseas raising taxes on big corporations is a poor idea. Would be interesting to lower taxes on corporations and eliminate models like the double Irish that allow the biggest to evade paying the majority of their 37%. This would reward company s that legitimately pay their taxes allowing them to reinvest more capital and better compete on the global market,, punish those who live in the loop holes paying their 5%,all while making it more attractive to do business in America slowing the loss of real jobs to developing countries.

Posted by Eddiebaso | Report as abusive
 

Senate Republicans again filibustered a jobs bill that would hire people to repair our country’s infrastructure. This is work that has to be done, work that Republicans have traditionally been in favor of, and right now millions of people need work. But again Republicans filibustered this bill. The corporate media, however, refused to tell the public what is happening, instead blaming “the Senate.” People are fed up, and rightly so. Poll after poll shows that the public wants taxes on the rich increased to pay down the deficit that THEY created. Infrastructure, education, health care, retirement are the things that We the People need. Our captured government is only serving the top few when all they will talk about is cutting these things in order to keep taxes low at the top.

Posted by SteveoOOo | Report as abusive
 

Immediately following the presidential election Mitch McConnell declared that the goal of house Republicans was to defeat every proposal Barack Obama put forward. Not jobs, Not the economy. Pure obstructionism. Sure enough, America came to a stop.

Posted by gobucks | Report as abusive
 

I know America is slowing down. Food for thought…What if the every day working person did not go to work for two weeks and that hard working people did not vote in the 2012 election. What would happen?

Posted by Peace1111 | Report as abusive
 

When is everyone going to realize that the two party system is a fraud? It’s no longer about what’s best, but rather what side of the aisle you are on. It is not just the Democrats’ fault or just the Republicans fault, IT IS BOTH THEIR FAULTS. Congress is supposed to represent the people of their respective states, not the RNC or DNC. Also the president should not side with either party; he is supposed to represent all the people in the US not just members of one party or another. It is all an illusion to distract us from who is really pulling the strings.

Posted by PDm138 | Report as abusive
 

Democrats have always, will always love the middle class. Democrats know what decisions are best for us, always have our best interests at heart, always protect us, always give us what we need, and know best how we should manage our money and lives.

Americans are finally, finally, realizing that we only need the Democrats in office. Voting for anyone else is pretty much treason and a disservice to yourself and country.

Vote Democrat…or don’t bother voting at all.

Posted by FlamingLiberal | Report as abusive
 

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