Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hillary Gave a Gift Basket

clinton is prying pennsylvania votes with suck-up promises, things she can probably never accomplish, but things that nonetheless sound really good to people who are feeling the pain of the economy.
obama in his speech in nyc, offered long term fundamental reform for the economy, and fewer promises of government support.
clinton is playing the typical political game. obama is offering truth, change and, yes, hope.
which will the low-income workers of pennsylvania choose?
here's a great story by andrew leonard at salon:
Obama does not support a five-year mortgage interest freeze or a moratorium on foreclosures -- two prominent planks of Clinton's economic agenda. One could make the argument, therefore, that Obama's approach is less far-reaching than Clinton's, or, conversely, one could argue that Clinton's wilder promises are politically unrealistic, even with a congressional majority. But the clearest difference between the two speeches is this: Hillary went to Philadelphia and promised Pennsylvania voters a gift basket of direct government assistance. Obama went to New York and made a case for long-term, fundamental change, along with a smaller gift basket.

How does that play out politically? Do working-class Pennsylvania voters care what Alexander Hamilton thought about government's role "in advancing our common prosperity" or how the repeal of Glass-Steagall plays into Wall Street's current troubles? That seems unlikely -- and the Clinton campaign was quick to seize upon that point, claiming in a press release that in his speech "Senator Obama announced a series of broad, vague principles, while offering no new concrete solutions to provide Americans with greater confidence in the market or keep them in their homes."

To which one could respond, back in 1980, Ronald Reagan announced a series of broad, vague principles, and then proceeded to drastically change the direction of American politics and economics. If we take both Clinton and Obama at their word, we have Clinton promising a boatload of quick fixes, and Obama promising a profound change of course. What unites them, in opposition to McCain, is that both understand that the U.S. is facing a real problem.