One of the problems people find with the presidential candidates is they have pulled their parties too far to the extremes. Candidates on the extreme end of their party’s positions run the risk of appealing only to a narrow audience. Two weeks ago the Republican party gave us candidates that are far to the right of the political spectrum. Their positions on everything from military spending to domestic cutbacks, tax cuts for the rich to cut backs on “entitlements” seem to have a narrow appeal to some wealthy and some ultra conservatives. If some find Mitt Romney to be too conservative, they will find Paul Ryan to be even more so. Ryan’s voting record could not be further to the right. His budget ideas call for extreme cuts. As far as the so-called Super Committee to find budget cuts before deep cuts automatically set in, Ryan could find no room for compromise. There was no agreement and deep cuts are just around the corner.
The Democrats on the other hand have gone well to the left. Their social programs make up a large part of their record. The Affordable Healthcare act, aka Obamacare, as well as positions on abortion and gay rights have Republicans seeing red. That would be red states where they can pick up electoral votes in the coming election. People were underwhelmed by the president’s convention speech where he talked of the country’s need in broad goals that hopefully would appeal to the many minority groups. The president hopes these groups will ultimately make up a majority. Neither candidate was very specific when it came to details.
So who is in the middle? It turns out the majority of us are. We identify with the broad middle class that we now find to be in peril. As the rich get richer, we also see the ranks of the poor growing. The guys in the middle, you and I and just about everyone we know, are disappointed as the election races to the finish line.
When Bill Clinton ran for president during a soft economy, his advisors, especially James Carville, coined the battle cry, “It the economy, stupid.” It was a rather blunt way of keeping the main issue out front. After the first President Bush promised “no new taxes” and then had to cave in to them in a weak economy, most people were likely to vote their wallets. The bounce Bush received from a successful Gulf War did not hold when people found their spending power shrinking.
This time James Carville and Stan Greenberg have laid out the issues again in a new book entitled, “It’s the Middle Class, stupid.” The political strategist and Democratic pollster have taken the pulse of America and found the patient to be ailing. What threatens the middle class is what threatens America as far as these two can see. “When we think of an issue and a solution, we have to stop and think, How does this protect America’s middle class?” Without protecting the middle, all will ultimately suffer.
While the two candidates have not had the broad appeal they were looking for, someone who is not running for office heard the message and laid out the details of where we are and where we need to go. As if he was running himself, Bill Clinton prepared a speech that was both big on detail and on optimism. Of course he was speaking to largely an adoring crowd, he nevertheless came to act as part politician and part educator. The 48 minute lecture and pep talk was considered by some of the network pundits to be among the best of Bill Clinton’s speeches from his entire career.
“We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity, ” President Clinton told the Democratic National Convention. That’s it! A strong middle class will drive the economic engine, but who will be the engineer. I am told I really can not vote for Clinton, either one of them.
- Democrat James Carville Says “80% of Democrats Don’t Have a Clue as to Political Reality.” (itmakessenseblog.com)
- James Carville On Romney’s Wealth: Issue Isn’t Whether You’re Rich, It’s Whether You’re Clueless (mediaite.com)
- Ryan Says Obama is ‘Not a Bill Clinton Democrat’ (abcnews.go.com)
- Bill Clinton Gets It Right – Almost (themoderatevoice.com)
- Candidates focused on narrow issues (denverpost.com)