Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama's Mandate

Lots of people are talking about some of the important things that were addressed in President Obama's press conference today.

But something rather simple stood out to me. Here is what the President said when he was asked whether or not he had a mandate coming out of the election.
I've got one mandate. I've got a mandate to help middle class families and families that are trying hard to get in the middle class.
I've been talking about President Obama's North Star for a while now. This is it.

There are those who constantly criticize the President for not talking about poverty enough. What they don't seem to realize is that this is how he does so...he frames it as being about those who "are trying hard to get in the middle class."

A few weeks ago this topic came up at a social gathering I attended. I mentioned that if you listen to President Obama - he always refers to those who are trying to get into the middle class rather than those who are living in poverty. Someone else talked about the fact that this is how people living in poverty tend to see themselves. It focuses on their aspirations rather than their current situation.

Today - once again - President Obama reiterated that he has a mandate to help them achieve those aspirations.


  1. You point to one of the reasons I can get behind Obama from the far left. He doesn't, generally, refer to "poor people." I won't say he's never used the term, but it doesn't generally come out of his mouth. He will talk about "working people," "working families," or as in this case "families that are trying hard to get in the middle class." The term "poor people" makes me very angry.

    His choice of words communicates to me that he has formed real connections with working people that have meant something to him. I do not expect him to reestablish the Petrograd Soviet in DC, but having a President who sees working people as "us" is very important.

    Also, good call on the Milk reference earlier today. I was working and couldn't comment in a timely fashion. He was never just about the gay community, but about all of "the us'es" asserting themselves and working in concert.

  2. Having lived in the Bay Area during Harvey Milk's time,I can assure you all, that what Bill speaks of was true: Harvey was a man of all people. He was taken from us too early, but I remember him fondly.