I was standing at the bustop today in Philly and thought the woman next to me was Lynne Abraham, the tough ex-District Attorney in Phladelphia who served from 1991-2010 and served as DA under Gov Ed Rendell when he was our Mayor. I voted for her every time she ran since I moved to Philly in 1994 and I told her so. She was known as one damn good but tough Democrat in a heavily Democratic city. And so I asked her "Your're a seasoned politician. What happened on Tuesday?" I will not sugar coat what she said to me and she was very genuine as we talked as we waited for our bus to come....
I think the best way to capture what she said as she reflected (now retired from politics) is to put her central points in bullet form:
- Obama and the DEMS failed to adequately communicate the details of their accomplishments. She considered this a major flaw of Obama.
- She didn't think HC reform per se was the problem, but that the lengthy bill was never fully explained by Obama to the American people. She confirmed he should have gone on TV afterward and did a Healthcare 101 to drum the bill's benefits home and into the American psyche.
- The economy is in sad shape, too many people are suffering, and the DEMS are in charge of everything.
- If the Republicans in Congress don't do a good job, in two years they will be voted out. She confirmed Americans are fickle.
- I mentioned that the only white demographic Obama won in 2008 was whites 30 and under but that they had been neglected by this administration in my view; they were not energized and did not come out to vote like they did in 2008. She said that's because the policies passed by the DEMS largely did not impact them.
- I asked her why older adults voted in record numbers for Republicans who even threated to cut Medicare and Social Security. She said that narrative never struck with them - at least not this voting cycle (maybe the next), but that all they heard (perceived) was "big government" "cuts in Medicare" (scary!) - the HCB did cut Medicare waste but the Repugs did a good job convincing older adults otherwise - that these were CUTS to their health care. All six of these points I attributed as very valid and from the head of a very experienced seasoned Democratic politician.
The only thing thing she said that I disagree with is #7.
- He is showing his inexperience.
I did not agree with that statement but I was more just trying to listen. I thanked her, thanked her for her service, and told her I admired good ethical politicians - that it had to be a tough job. She concurred and said it was practically an impossible job with half of her constituents wanting one thing and the other half always wanting the opposite.
I only wish I could have perceived that she had indeed given Obama credit for saving us from a near depression and possible global collapse. I wish she had indicated he saved the auto industry practically single handed. I wish she had indicated what a horrific plate he was handed coming into office and that by many measures he has set the country on the right track. But I guess if you have no job or your mortgage is underwater, all those passed DEM policies seem shallow. I would love to know the employment status of those who voted from exit polls. I think I read someplace that most voters overwhelmingly were retired, older, and HAD jobs. If that's true, then I think the failure to communicate and break through the propoganda of the the media, in particular FOX, was a real determinent.
My last point: the banks/greed/Wall Street nearly brought the globe and this country to its knees. But Obama is going to have to placate these devils in order for these Robber Barrons to take the new stock market money they are stashing away and begin to use it to start hiring. Can Obama win this high stakes game? For the first time, I honestly do not know. I only hope so.