The second reason Americans voted for Obama is because Republicans never deconstructed or explained what he meant when he said things like, “The question we ask today is not whether government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs and decent health care they can afford and a retirement that is dignified.” My gosh! Who is going to object to that?
But this is very dangerous language because what it actually says is very radical language cloaked in conservative rhetoric. The only way to counter that kind of rhetoric and language, is to force people to be specific, how often was Obama asked, ‘How are you going to get people health care they can afford? Can you put a dollar number on that for me?” Did you ever hear that asked in the first Presidential campaign?
Nor do Republicans counter another very important fiction, which is why we found ourselves in this financial crisis in the first place — the narrative that the big bad banks got together with the big bad rating agencies to force those poor, largely minority, easily hoodwinked Americans to buy McMansions they could not afford but they really should own. And the solution is to pass something called the Dodd Frank Act, an incredibly innovative law that eliminates all financial risk from the entire economy at all times!
Now you know that is nuts. I know it is nuts. Even a lot of Democrats know it is nuts, but when was the last time you heard a Republican stand up and say, ‘Actually it was Congress’s fault that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-backed agencies, decided to lend a lot of money to people who could not afford a mortgage.’ When did you hear them say, ‘Gosh, banks are a little over-regulated, so they all take the same risks at the same time, maybe that is a bad idea? Gee, people who work at ratings agencies are people who can’t get jobs at Goldman Sachs.’
When was the last time you heard that poor people, even if minorities, should not be burdened with mortgages they can’t afford, because that actually keeps them impoverished in the long run. Maybe they should rent. Wow, radical!
You have to combat this kind of rhetoric or else people will believe it.