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"He seems to always be in campaign mode, where he treats people in the other party as enemies rather than partners."
- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), on CBS This Morning, Wednesday, lamenting President Obama's post State of the Union swing through North Carolina and Georgia to raise support for the agenda he outlined
The best politicking is populism, because it is the bane of an elected official's careful plans to hold onto power. It engages the rabble, you see, the dirty unwashed who, for the most part, have no direct stake in seeing their reps reelected, but who do have a practical interest in the success of their nation. That is why the president has taken his message to the people, and why a Congress that refuses to go against its various corporate and political allegiances, to make a deal with Obama, is so ruffled by it.

The last time someone took it to the people, the corporate funded Tea Party emerged, an entity of questionable sanity that exposed, among other things, the xenophobic, racist underbelly of the Republican Party. The degrading of the GOP brand by "a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party," as Gen. Colin Powell put it on Meet the Press last month, has caused many in the party of Lincoln to ask, as the general did, "Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of [racially charged] discussion within the party?"

Well, the answer is obvious - power. They need the racists to respond to the dog whistles, so they can make it through this period of middle class backlash against a Republican regime that took us into an unnecessary war, compromised our justice system and treated our treasury like a candy store for their friends on Wall Street. They can only hope that the anger subsides before they lose control of government policy altogether.

In 2010, after the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives, pundits pointed to the "unpopularity" of the Affordable Care Act, and the way it caused a "grassroots" uprising against the way the Congress did its business. But, as in most midterm elections, it was mostly the politically engaged who showed up to vote, which, in 2010, was the Koch brothers backed Tea Party. What the president learned from his first midterm election was that his party and its supporters did a dreadful job of getting people to the polls, because they had disengaged since that historic night in November, 2008.

Hence Obama's continuing "campaign mode," as Ryan called it, because while our nation's legal system isn't decided through plebiscite, the people still have the power to petition the lawmakers who represent them, and the president's efforts are designed with the power of public redress in mind. It's why most modern presidents take to the road after a major policy speech like the State of the Union. "As is tradition," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media on Air Force One, Wednesday, "the President is traveling the day after the State of the Union to amplify some of the aspects of his agenda that he talked about last night."

He'll do this as long as it works, and as long as the GOP's charges of being a permanent campaigner don't have adverse stickiness. "Look," Carney explained to members of the press who were questioning the usefulness of promoting the infrastructure funding policy, "if you have the right proposal that has broad-based support, that is proven to be effective, you have to keep pushing it and fighting for it."

It was our Founding Fathers who democratized the mystery of politics, giving us the tools of voice and action to affect change in our government. They not only didn't want to serve a king; they wanted our country's destiny to be in our own hands. When "broad-based support" won't come from Congress, it has to come from us.

So when you see the president on the news the next few weeks, whether it's in Ashville, North Carolina, or Ashland, Oregon, he will not only be explaining his policies. He will be empowering you, reminding you that, in our country, the veil of political participation is lifted, and the power is ours. Without us, and the exhortations of our president, as Carney said,"We wouldn’t get anything done in Washington."

Now go engage yourself.

-PBG

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Comment Preferences

  •  Complaint From the Party That Starts Each Cam- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProseAndThorn

    paign January 2nd after every election. The rw is in 2014 campaign mode right now. But they'd gotten used to Democratic minimalist campaigns ever since the 70's, and again leading up to 2010.

    Obama very definitely is in campaign mode for 2014, not just for the immediate issues. I dearly hope that the party learned from 2010 that, between policy and messaging, if you don't motivate voters you will be crushed.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 04:53:09 PM PST

  •  Public Service Announcement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabney, ProseAndThorn
    "He seems to always be in campaign mode, where he treats people in the other party as enemies rather than partners."
    When you hear or read any statement form a republican politician, always look for the psychological projection. In this case, the projection has been capitalized for your convenience.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 04:59:10 PM PST

  •  A chicken in every pot has always been a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabney

    popular political statement.

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 04:59:46 PM PST

  •  Paul Ryan is Wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProseAndThorn

    "He seems to always be in campaign mode, where he treats people in the other party as enemies rather than partners."
    - Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), on CBS This Morning,
    Paul -- bless your heart -- you're projecting again.  The Democrats have always tried to reach across the aisle and have always been rebuffed.  The Republicans have treated the Democrats as the enemy ever since Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House.  The Republicans have resorted to all kinds of dirty tricks, including voter suppression, because they have totally rejected cooperation in any circumstance.  
    But what has changed is that the American People have rejected the Republican tactics and the Democrats have decided not to help you recover from your very bad choices this time.  You're on your own this time, pal.

  •  Nice catch on the projection, guys. (0+ / 0-)

    Can't believe I missed that! Excellent.

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