If silence is golden and actions speak louder than words, the lack of posting on the Pickle for the last two months is a 24-karat megaphone. Believe it or not, I did not have much to say. I think that the most interesting political news over the past 2 months has been Occupy Wall Street, #OWS, #99%, etc. But there has been enough digital ink spilt on that topic to cover the distance between Breitbart.com and the HuffingtonPost and back. I understand the occupiers frustration and hope that their involvement in the social/political conversation in this country will benefit us all. It’s a pretty sizable task to take on the powers-that-be (literally) and hope for any real change, but it would be an amazing feat if they could organize some tangible policy changes.
What’s more surprising about the OWS movement is that no candidate, individual or group has attempted to funnel this attention into actual power? You’d think someone – President Obama, for example – could gain some real political currency by embracing the frustration and giving it a voice and a persona. Is it that he finds it too politically risky? Is it that he doesn’t agree? The type of rhetoric used in his 2008 campaign is remarkably similar to what we’ve been hearing from the occupiers themselves. Perhaps Obama has missed his chance and is too intertwined with Wall Street banks and big business. I seem to think that he agrees with OWS but cannot come out and say it because he’s scared of the political ramifications. Granted, I could be projecting onto Obama what I would want him to do or what I would tell him to do (if I could). To me, playing it safe here is even worse. It either shows a lack of courage which I don’t think is the case or a misreading of the strength of the Far Right and GOP candidates.
Mr. President, Romney/Cain/Perry (or any combination of the three) will not beat you in 2012. Please be yourself and tell us what you really think.
Since this is my first post in 2 months, I’m going to take the liberty to throw in some other thoughts too.
It turns out silence is golden if you’re Mitt Romney. This guy is going to walk into the nomination simply by NOT commenting on anything. It’s remarkable. Play the middle of the road at debates. Ignore petty political in-fighting regarding Rick Perry’s hunting habits or Herman Cain’s past. And without ever taking any risk to speak of, become the GOP nominee. The John Kerry of the Republican Party. I only say that to reinforce my prediction about 2012. It will be 2004-esque only less competitive.
This whole campaign season has been a joke. Watch footage of the last debate for further proof. Again, perhaps it’s just me, sitting up here in Connecticut, attending law school and growing ever cynical about this country’s future (and the weather, as a matter of fact). I don’t see the excitement or support for any Republican candidate and I think Perry now sees that it was a huge mistake to join this race. But here we are.
The Americans Elect 2012 movement recently sent me an e-mail asking for nominees for new, different and outside-the-box (it was time for another cliche) candidates for the Presidency. Their motto “Pick a President, not a Party” is gaining traction and I’m starting to get my hopes up, which is never a good thing. I voted for Obama in 2008 and I’m planning to vote for him again unless someone else shows they can say anything of significance and speak for me.
There are major economic and equality issues that run to the core of capitalism, democracy and life in this country. We’re still not talking about them. Yes, we want to “create jobs” and “get America working again” but there is no question that Washington (Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi), Romney, Perry and even to some degree Obama are addressing these questions with the same old answers. We’re still hearing about manufacturing, home ownership and exporting goods. Really? That’s like the newspaper industry trying to embrace the Internet by printing more newspapers.
I was not intending to be a Debbie Downer here. There is hope. Obama has plenty of time to figure this thing out and make 2012 all about the country’s future. Sure, his “hope” campaign got mocked a bit for being too idealistic in 2008 and it would be very difficult to run on hope again in 2012. But there is a silent majority out there who is frustrated, tired and confused about where these financial troubles are headed. We are moderates, independents, progressives, libertarians, Democrats and Republicans alike. Many of us aren’t as into politics as The Pickle and aren’t even paying attention yet. Obama can still be the voice of the people going forward. Can someone else come in and steal his thunder? Yes! It’s unlikely but in this digital, milli-second culture. It’s possible. It’s not coming from the Republicans, I can tell you that much.
Hopefully Obama is hearing the OWSers and getting a sense for the tension that is building across this country. Hopefully he captures that energy and becomes the voice of the millions of people “stuck in the middle.” We hear about corporate loopholes that include million dollar bonuses and cannot make sense of our place in this economy. Hopefully someone can. Hopefully that someone is a candidate for President in 2012. It could be Obama. Could it be anyone else?