Skip to main content

As pointed out by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine, some prominent Republicans are now worrying that the Obama campaign's Economic messaging has "dystopian" undertones--and that these undertones are uncomfortably effective in the current economic climate.

Obviously, campaigns always strive to convey confidence, with even the slightest hints of pessimism seen as potentially unleashing a self-defeating cycle of doom.

So this admission, from [Steven J. Law] the director of the Karl Rove–affiliated Republican Super-PAC “American Crossroads,” is unusual and telling:

Mr. Law said, Crossroads research suggests that Mr. Obama’s campaign has started to gain traction among critical swing voters by arguing that Republicans, including Mr. Romney, favor an “economic plutocracy” in which middle-class voters can no longer count on financial security, even though they work hard and play by the rules.

“His argument is: ‘The reason you feel bad is not because I’ve been an inadequate president but because the rules of the game are stacked against you,’ ” Mr. Law said. Calling it a “dystopian vision,” he added, “that narrative has some gravitational pull.”

In a political season augured in by the striking popularity of The Hunger Games, a stark exposition of a warped and imbalanced economic future, this admission by the head of the GOP's favorite "independent" SuperPAC is a tacit acknowledgement that America has reached a tipping point where the politics of populism may finally have struck a chord with the American people.  

By definition, one man's comfortable reality can be another man's "dystopia."  The fact that income inequality has reached staggering levels in his country, leaving even the most educated American citizens scratching for subsistence while still mired in debt may indeed be fairly characterized as "dystopian."   A so-called representative form of government that showers rewards on its wealthiest members but cannot or will not provide adequate health care for its citizens can certainly be characterized as "dystopian."  It certainly feels "dystopian" enough for those experiencing it.   So it's easy to see why Obama's approach resonates, particularly since it is directed towards a Republican party that has actively worked to sabotage any economic recovery, any expansion of health care, any efforts whatsoever to provide for the well-being of most Americans.  As Chait points out, the new attraction of Obama's populist tone is in stark contrast to the hollow tenets of Democratic "centrism:"

It's also an interesting concession for what it tells us about the debate within the Democratic Party. The centrist, pro-business wing is always warning Democrats away from any hint of economic populism. "Third Way" is the current representation of this view, and has spent months cheerfully ignoring the fact that Obama's approval ratings hit their bottom when he was desperately pursuing Third Way's recommended strategy of pleading for a deficit deal with Republicans, and has recovered since he abandoned that and started framing the choice in populist terms.
If the head of Mitt Romney's SuperPAC is looking for signs of "dystopia," he should start by looking in the mirror:
Crossroads’ planned intervention affirms predictions that the general election campaign will be fought in large part by proxy, via the super PACs, which have been emboldened by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 that helped pave the way for their creation.  
*  *  *
American Crossroads and its affiliated Crossroads GPS raised $51 million last year, according to federal election filings, much of it from the conservative financier Harold C. Simmons and other wealthy donors with interests in coal, real estate and finance.

These groups will be formidable allies for Mr. Romney’s campaign. Though they are legally prohibited from coordinating with his strategists, they are working on the same mission, to shift the debate away from issues of wealth inequality — terrain that appears to favor Mr. Obama — and toward what Stuart Stevens, a senior Romney strategist, said would be a referendum on the president and his promise to of economic recovery.

It's Republican policies, abetted by the Conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court who created the "dystopia" that has led to this newfound "concern" by Mr. Law and others.   That their Supreme Court-sanctioned, millionaire-funded  "SuperPAC" is actively working to "shift the debate away from wealth inequality" is probably the most ironic demonstration imaginable of the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party.

You can donate to President Obama's re-election campaign here.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

bink, Alumbrados, buffalo soldier, Sylv, vicki, PLS, melo, grollen, Gooserock, newjeffct, DebtorsPrison, Shockwave, Pescadero Bill, Wintermute, cotterperson, SanJoseLady, xynz, frisco, chipoliwog, cinnamon68, opinionated, bronte17, davechen, Zinman, wonkydonkey, whenwego, itskevin, Bill Roberts, thea lake, Cedwyn, Texknight, Getreal1246, psnyder, hangingchad, sockpuppet, Urizen, westyny, Ophelia, barbwires, Diana in NoVa, ybruti, side pocket, KayCeSF, tomjones, bibble, sebastianguy99, Armand451, Gowrie Gal, rapala, bloomer 101, historys mysteries, LakeSuperior, SherwoodB, PBen, Alice Venturi, JohnB47, ccasas, Brooke In Seattle, madmommy, reflectionsv37, eru, PSzymeczek, Beetwasher, Sun Tzu, Ice Blue, blue jersey mom, jane123, Hastur, sunbro, Isara, SBandini, Savvy813, joeotter, Rogneid, JanF, Alan Arizona, martini, snazzzybird, tarheelblue, myboo, cybersaur, Kimball Cross, tonyahky, cookseytalbott, seefleur, deha, pengiep, Lefty Coaster, NBBooks, gpoutney, Native Light, mithra, katrinka, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, onionjim, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, ms badger, markthshark, Nulwee, pgm 01, Winston Sm1th, dotsright, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, blue armadillo, ksp, gloriana, linkage, puakev, DvCM, bnasley, millwood, fbiots, Wreck Smurfy, uciguy30, GeorgeXVIII, fallina7, cville townie, gizmo59, rmonroe, rogerdaddy, jack 1966, Port City Moon, ScottyUrb, OleHippieChick, Youffraita, Involuntary Exile, elwior, ajr111240, lineatus, jakebob, Calamity Jean, pamelabrown, Neosho, mofembot, Gemina13, luckylizard, punkdavid, palantir, Mayfly, cactusflinthead, CA coastsider, Wordsinthewind, clent, maggiejean, prettygirlxoxoxo, greengemini, lostinamerica, Dopeman, Partisan Progressive, socal altvibe, shopkeeper, Remediator, elziax, MKSinSA, Shelley99, winkk, Knarfc, Livvy5, Larsstephens, smileycreek, coppercelt, pyegar, eXtina, Susan Grigsby, jethrock, eb23, dminor9, ATFILLINOIS, rja, DrTerwilliker, ericlewis0, Mike08, kerflooey, Mico0109, sostos, ardyess, kevin k, trumpeter, mrsgoo, Haf2Read, marleycat, sethtriggs, Cinnamon Rollover, dle2GA, KVoimakas, floridablue, tardis10, MinistryOfTruth, Imhotepsings, poliwrangler, MikeBoyScout, leftykook, Mentatmark, Auriandra, drawingporno, Azazello, GenXangster, JTinDC, OldDragon, anodnhajo, isabelle hayes, angry marmot, Siri, a2nite, Trotskyrepublican, Horace Boothroyd III, Mr Robert, Ruh Roh, BusyinCA, Noddy, avsp, ItsaMathJoke, mumtaznepal, Robynhood too, blueoldlady, Chaddiwicker, nomandates, Panacea Paola, GenXBadger, weck, Noctem Aeternus, LaraJones, GreenMother, gracielove

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site