How was everyone’s May Day? Did you go out and join one of the many actions across the country? Did you make it seem like you participated by re-posting May Day news items to your Facebook wall? That’s nice, but did you notice that the world economic order had not shifted by the time you got up today? CNN did! TRAGIC FAIL, DEMONSTRATORS: “Some even talked about bringing down capitalism. But the small demonstrations in many American cities and in other cities across the world had little effect.” So that’s it for all you poor slobs! But why didn’t they just hold some direct talks with Barack Obama’s top people, to more directly address their concerns? This is how wealthy political donors get their ideas out there. One of these donors has an excellent idea for Obama, to dry all those acid tears over the nation’s growing income inequality: how about he give one of his famous healing speeches explaining to the slobs that it is not polite to be mad at Wall Street. That’ll do it.
From the New York Times Magazine:
For the next hour, [a group of more than 20] donors relayed to [Obama campaign manager Jim] Messina what their friends had been saying. They felt unfairly demonized for being wealthy. They felt scapegoated for the recession. It was a few weeks into the Occupy Wall Street movement, with mass protests against the 1 percent springing up all around the country, and they blamed the president and his party for the public’s nasty mood. The administration, some suggested, had created a hostile environment for job creators.
Messina politely pushed back. It’s not the president’s fault that Americans are still upset with Wall Street, he told them, and given the public’s mood, the administration’s rhetoric had been notably restrained.
One of the guests raised his hand; he knew how to solve the problem. The president had won plaudits for his speech on race during the last campaign, the guest noted. It was a soaring address that acknowledged white resentment and urged national unity. What if Obama gave a similarly healing speech about class and inequality? What if he urged an end to attacks on the rich? Around the table, some people shook their heads in disbelief.
“Most people in the financial world,” a top Obama donor later told me, “do not understand how most of America feels about them.” But they think they understand how the president’s inner circle feels about them. “This administration has a more contemptuous view of big money and of Wall Street than any administration in 40 years,” the donor said. “And it shows.”
That is a lovely idea, this speech. Just look at how Obama’s speech on race and white resentment ended racism forever, after all. [NYT]