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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tomasky: KS Speech Backs GOP into Corner

Rave reviews of President Obama’s Osawatomie speech are still rolling in. Writing at The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky had this to say:

…This was Obama’s best speech in a very, very long time, and it showed that he and his political people have finally figured out how to express the new, quasi-populist mood in this country in a way that sounds utterly majoritarian and unthreatening–and that backs the GOP into the corner of defending things that most Americans find indefensible. The tide is turning, and while it wasn’t the president who turned it, at least it’s clear that he understands the moment and seizing it.

Tomasky was impressed with the President’s grasp of the reality of class conflict in this political moment — and the way the middle class majority perceives it going into 2012:

…I counted 25 mentions of “middle class” in the speech. Finally–maybe, if he keeps it up–the Democrats have a broad and coherent response to trickle-down economics: middle-class economics. It’s ridiculously simple. It’s like a melody in a new pop song that you hear, and it’s so catchy and instantly memorable that you can’t believe that no one has written it until now….A strong majority of Americans is fed up with stagnation, with inequality, with the unfairness of the economic system.

Tomasky credits the President with a breakthrough realization, one that should serve him well in the campaign ahead:

…what was important here was the big picture. This is the first speech of Obama’s career, at least his career as a presidential candidate or president, where I felt he achieved a comfortable marriage of his own civic-republican beliefs about national community and principles of political economy that are plainly but not off-puttingly progressive. That he invoked the ghost of a Republican president to do it is so much the better. TR wouldn’t want much to do with Paul Ryan, and most Americans don’t either.

The President is on the right track, Tomasky feels. And if he can keep it rolling, the tide will turn in Democrats’ favor. “…If, 11 months from now, people are talking with their neighbors about how, for all his faults, Obama is the guy who’s on the side of the middle class and who has made it patriotic to say so, then the Republican candidate will be in a heap of trouble.”

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