I was thrilled to watch President Obama's Saturday address just a couple of hours ago. I have to admit though that I have been feeling incredibly nauseous since that time.
When I read through the Obama Administration's budget outline yesterday, I was elated. This feeling did not last long. After a couple of minutes, I started to feel nauseous. Myfirst thought was: "Oh my God, he's actually going to try to be true to all of his promises." This was quickly followed by: "Oh my God, the lobbyists and corporate interests are going to fight this by any means necessary."
The proposed budget is a repudiation of the last 30 years (at least) of American political philosophy. I have read a lot of newspaper accounts that have described the blueprint as "transformative" and I really can't think of a better way to describe it.
Al Giordano offers a very cogent analysis of President Obama's Saturday address.
Okay, here's what I think just happened: The President has reframed the narrative from the stale dysfunction of Democrats demonizing Republicans and Republicans demonizing Democrats and stepped over that puddle of slime to create a more authentic narrative: The American people vs. the special interests (and note that the ones he mentions are universally from the corporate sector).
And let's keep in mind that the interests he mentions - "the insurance industry... the banks and big student lenders... the oil and gas companies..." - have their hooks and donations just as deeply into Congressional Democrats as they do for Congressional Republicans. They've all just been put on notice: oppose the reforms he's pushing and be portrayed as siding with those corporate interests against the American people.
This is is quite huge. It hasn't been done by a president since FDR. And the populist campaign rhetoric by Edwards, Clinton and even Obama in 2008 aside did not rise to this level of clarity by a longshot. Really, it hasn't been done this way by any Democratic presidential candidate since Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris ran in 1976.
So let me get back to that nauseous feeling that I experienced after listening to President Obama's speech. It comes from the fact that I am not convinced that the American people will mobilize to press Congress (especially the Blue Dog coalition) to enact this budget. I am truly worried that the American people need to have their hands held and be provided with clear instructions about what they need to do in order to mobilize on their own behalf. I am worried that most Americans are easily duped and will buy into Republican claims of class warfare when the fact is that Republicans have ALWAYS engaged in class warfare from the top.
What should I do about all of this worry and nausea? I am a long-time organizer and I have never been passive. So now, I am going to have to look for proactive ways to organize members of my community to support the enactment of the budget. I am thinking about developing a curriculum that can be used to run local "teach-ins" about the budget. Any ideas from any of you about other such materials that may have been created in the past? I will reach out to some contacts at Organizing for America about this too. The best way to combat anxiety is to get active. This is something that those of us who care about seeing these priorities enacted need to do NOW. We cannot wait for the budget battle to be defined by the corporate media (which has tons to lose), by the corporate lobbyist, and by the Republican party.
Commenter Jonze points to the fact that the corporate pirates are already working to oppose President Obama's agenda through people like Rick Santelli.
The Washington Post gets into the act foreshadowing the upcoming budget battle: