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PORTSIDE  September 2010, Week 1

PORTSIDE September 2010, Week 1

Subject:

A deserted feeling in working-class America

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Date:

Fri, 3 Sep 2010 02:22:30 -0400

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text/plain (77 lines)

A deserted feeling in working-class America

By Harold Meyerson,
Op-Ed Columnists

Washington Post

September 1, 2010

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/31/AR2010083104880.html

Of all the groups in the Democratic orbit, it is labor that
has assumed the most demanding role in this year's midterm
elections: keeping the white working class from flooding
into the Republican column.

"When our canvassers call on our members on their doorsteps,
they hear Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly in the background,"
says Dan Heck, who heads a massive union-sponsored program
in Ohio devoted to persuading its members to vote this
November for candidates who would mightily displease Beck
and O'Reilly.

...

Working America's canvassers hear that anger every day --
sometimes directed at Wall Street, sometimes at the
president, immigrants and other right-wing bogeymen. They
grapple with it by highlighting job-creation programs
(improving local roads) and anti-offshoring legislation that
Democrats have backed and Republicans opposed. Next week,
they'll start campaigning for actual candidates, using these
criteria.

Their message is surely the right one. The question is
whether congressional Democrats and Obama in particular
actually measure up to progressive-populist claims that
labor makes for them. That they have passed landmark
progressive legislation, and mitigated the scope of the
recession, is beyond question. Hampered by Republican
opposition, however, they clearly haven't done enough to
turn the economy around.

...

Nearly 80 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt did just that --
railing at the "money changers" of Wall Street who had
defiled the nation, even as he crafted programs that created
jobs and regulated finance. The Becks and O'Reillys of his
day -- chiefly, radio demagogue Father Coughlin -- railed at
the New Deal's secularists and Jews subverting the nation,
but Roosevelt, with an ascendant labor movement going door
to door for him, beat them back.

Like Roosevelt, Obama has created jobs (if nowhere near
enough) and regulated finance, but the empathic anger seems
beyond his capacities or inclinations. That may be one of
the biggest obstacles confronting labor's canvassers this
fall.

To read the full story, go here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/31/AR2010083104880.html

_____________________________________________

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to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

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