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It's the Inflation, Stupid
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Franklin D. Roosevelt, scion of one of the wealthiest families in American history, was worth about \$67 million in today’s dollars. He attended the prestigious Groton boarding school, Harvard College and Columbia Law. He was relatable to the masses despite his privileged background. In the words of a PBS documentary, he was “a patrician who spoke the language of the dispossessed.”

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, had every tool he needed in order to connect with ordinary voters. He grew up poor in rural Arkansas with his mother and abusive alcoholic stepfather. When he ran for president, he was the lowest-paid governor in America, not even bringing in \$40,000 a year. He deployed the common touch he picked up via his background during his successful election campaign.

As president, however, he succumbed to the D.C. bubble, initially prioritized the right of gays to serve in the military and pushed a convoluted health care plan and disastrous trade deals like NAFTA that devastated what was left of the industrial Midwest. He won two terms at the expense of a future realignment; his cluelessness and cruelty planted seeds of frustration and rage that blossomed with the election of Donald Trump over Clinton’s wife. The Rust Belt, once a bastion of union-aligned Democrats, shifted into the Republican column in part because a president who grew up poor forgot where he came from while a later one who grew up rich convinced folks in flyover country that he felt their pain.

You don’t have to be a member of the proletariat to earn their trust. You have to show them that you understand their problems.

Because Democrats are failing to do that, they are headed toward disaster in the 2022 midterm elections.

Gen. David Petraeus wanted to “flood the zone” with American troops in Iraq. The same strategy is generally effective in electoral politics — bombard the airwaves and print with a steady torrent of consistent, on-brand, compelling messaging that sets the agenda for political discussion and forces your adversary to respond, thus unwittingly reinforcing your framing of issues and proposed solutions. Trump was a master at this. He would say or propose something dramatic or outrageous on Monday but by the time Democrats settled upon and began disseminating their counter-spin on Tuesday, Trump was onto the next act that would dominate the news cycle.

The Biden administration is a messaging vacuum.

President Joe Biden hardly holds any press conferences. He delivers few prime-time televised speeches. Messaging, when it happens, is outsourced to social media, press secretary Jen Psaki, allies and surrogates. Republicans and their media allies fill the vacuum; Democrats enable conservative framing by comparing themselves to former and possibly future President Trump.

When it comes to voters’ top concerns, the White House’s instinct is to ignore or deflect.

Americans tell pollsters they’re more worried about inflation than any other issue, followed by immigration and the COVID pandemic. Both Democrats and Republicans say the economy is getting worse.


But voters aren’t hearing much about those issues from Democrats. Biden is instead focused on Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, defending a drug treatment program that Republicans claim would distribute free crack pipes at taxpayer expense and complaining that the GOP is blocking his nominees to the Federal Reserve Board.

Guess how many people care about the Fed nominations.

Voters support Biden’s Ukraine policy, which boils down to stern disapproval coupled with more sanctions. But they need to hear about inflation. They need the administration to stop trying to change the subject to job creation: “If you can’t remember another year when so many people went to work in this country, there’s a reason: It never happened,” Biden said last week. He’s right. It has never been easier to find a job or to demand a raise. But what good is a raise that gets eaten up by inflation?

People need to hear, as they did during Roosevelt’s fireside chats, that the president recognizes the issues that afflict their lives. They need the president to explain what’s going on and hear a list of credible actions he is undertaking to fix those problems. Unfortunately for the Democrats, neither the president nor leading officials are doing that.

No wonder his approval numbers continue to decline. A CBS/YouGov poll showed that 58% of Americans said that Biden wasn’t focusing enough on the economy; 65% said this about inflation. Only 33% said that Biden and the Democrats are focusing on issues they care about most.

When he does deign to discuss inflation, the president appears out of touch. In December, he said inflation had peaked and would soon start to decline. He passed the buck to the Fed in January, saying that dealing with rising prices was their job. He accepted reality in early February, saying, “We have been using every tool at our disposal.” Yet inflation continues to rage. If the White House has been doing everything it can, or perhaps more precisely everything it can think of, and prices keep going up, voters will naturally draw the conclusion that help is not on the way, at least not from the Democrats.

It is understandable for the president to focus on a major foreign-policy crisis. But obsessing over the fate of a country that is not a traditional ally, has little history of shared values with the United States and falls under the sphere of influence of another superpower is politically dangerous, particularly when it comes at the expense of economic issues close to home.

Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of a new graphic novel about a journalist gone bad, “The Stringer.”

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  1. Phibbs says:

    This conflict with Caucasian-Christian Russia is all about Jewish hostility. Jews hate Russia because it is Caucasian and because it is Christian. Russia also supports Israel’s enemies: Syria & Iran. Russians, on the other hand, remember that the Jewish-Bolshevist Revolution in 1917 caused the murders of ten million Caucasian-Christian Russians. Jewish plundering of the Russian economy in the 1990’s is another legitimate complaint. Unlike American Christians, Russian Christians remember who murdered God and whom Jesus called “the children of Satan.”

    • Replies: @Hans
  2. TG says:

    Indeed, well said. But…

    My best guess is that President Biden’s approval rating remains very strong, probably over 90%… amongst the billionaires that run this country.

    He’s doing everything they asked. Opening the borders to unlimited cheap-labor third-world immigration, providing nearly limitless zero-percent loans and bailouts and subsidies and near-zero percent tax rates to the people at the top, while crushing the people at the middle with ever more fees and taxes. And inflation? Music the the ears of the bankers and near-monopoly industries. Pricing power, baby!

    So if the Democrats get crushed in the next election cycle, so what? Mission accomplished! And the Republicans will just put up some other flavor of sock-puppet. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    Joe Biden will finish his four years as president as he did his previous half-century of ‘public service’ – doing whatever his wealthy patrons pay him to do. And his ultimate act will be to allow his own senility to be used to deflect attention from the calculated malice of the people in charge. Way to go, Joe!

    • Agree: Jim Christian
  3. “a patrician who spoke the language of the dispossessed.”

    Like his BFF Joe Stalin, I presume. FDR came into office hostile to the working-class, and was dedicated to using the power of government to bail out failing capitalism. His first New Deal was very similar to the policies Obama carried out in response to the 2008 economic crisis – a stimulus package, help for the banks, and loans to corporations.

    In fact, workers won meaningful improvements only after they began to fight on an unprecedented scale. Starting in 1934, they carried out militant strikes and protests, often culminating in armed battles in cities across the country. On a level far beyond anything we have seen recently, they challenged the right of the bosses to run, and, in some cases, to even own, the companies. In several places, protestors took over cities. And in the process they demonstrated a willingness to fight liberals and progressives – many of whom were far to the left of anyone in current mainstream politics, including Bernie Sanders. The massive workers’ movements of the 1930s and 1940s established the unions in the mass production industries and led to series of reforms, including unemployment insurance and Social Security. These victories were the result of solidarity and militancy from below, not because of the moral goodness of liberal Democrat politicians.

    FDR’s second New Deal was an attempt to ally with union leaders to create a state-sponsored system of union recognition and negotiations that would keep the working-class within the framework of capitalism. FDR and subsequent Democratic Party politicians fought all expressions of labor militancy. Starting in 1937 and accelerating as the country began to rearm for the hugely needless war FDR tirelessly provoked, Democratic Party politicians on all levels turned their back on labor as local police departments and National Guardsman brutalized, and sometimes killed, strikers. By 1941, FDR was himself responsible for smashing strikes, including a massive one at North American Aviation.

    After WWII, in the infamous “Treaty of Detroit”, in response to another nation-wide strike wave, union leaders and employers agreed on a labor-management framework that limited workers’ ability to stage independent struggles. It also set businesses on a course to agree to dramatic but only temporary improvements in workers’ standards of living. The whole post-war “golden age” was made possible by the fact that the working-class had fought hard enough to change the balance of forces in its favor. Additionally, capitalism received a respite from its chronic crisis of overproduction because FDR’s war had destroyed half the world. FDR’s class began reclaiming its power with a vengeance in the 1970s, an evil process continued today by Dems and GOPs alike.

    • Replies: @SafeNow
  4. Hans says:

    Also Ukraine is the old home of the Khazars and (((they))) are hoping to establish a second criminal homeland there. The crime and criminals have been in place for a long time but now they want to move towards greater migration there. Texe has it but many folks ain’t ready to go there yet –

  5. SafeNow says:

    After WWII

    Great comment. But not so fast on the “after,” please. FDR interned the Japanese-American citizens. This showed his moral view toward the less elite. And btw, Korematsu remains the law of the land, after Roberts refused to overrule it legally in Trump vs. Hawaii.

  6. If Biden wanted to blame the inflation on Trump, he’d have a case. All that “stimulus” funny-money was pumped out on Trump’s watch.

    • Disagree: Hangnail Hans
  7. Bidens poll numbers aren’t falling because he was never popular in the first place, because… the 2020 election was rigged.

  8. A123 says:

    The SJW/DNC is now the corporate party. They loathe the idea of American Jobs for American Citizens. Fear of MAGA Reindustrialization has flipped the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They are now stalwart supporters of Ilhan Omar’s DNC: (1)

    [From 2020] The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is poised to endorse nearly two dozen freshmen House Democrats for reelection

    The clash also provides a window into a growing rift in the business community over its place in the Donald Trump-dominated Republican Party, which has at times embraced policies the corporate world opposes. While the Chamber has almost exclusively endorsed Republicans over the past decade, it has collided with the president over everything from tariffs to immigration. (read more)

    The CoC was never a “right wing organization”, nor was it a “republican organization”; it was always a multinational globalist organization structured to support Wall Street and destroy Main Street. It was always a feature, not a flaw…. but no-one would believe it.

    Well, now… believe it.

    The Corporate DNC loves massive inflation. It lets them pay back pennies on the dollar they borrowed. That it crushes U.S. citizens is a bonus. The SJW/DNC prizes submissiveness above all else.

    Democrats cannot present “faux compassion” that is 180° opposed to their actual belief system. It would never sell.

    PEACE 😇


  9. Alrenous says: • Website

    Because Democrats are failing to do that, they are headed toward disaster in the 2022 midterm elections.

    Assuming Americans are allowed to vote in the election this time. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Guess how many people care about the Fed nominations.

    The Fed clearly doesn’t care. And they should know, shouldn’t they? Why would I try to second-guess them?

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