- Rick Salutin offers an important take on the U.S. election by pointing out that the Occupy movement and its focus on inequality laid the groundwork for Barack Obama's re-election:
The aftermath to the bailouts was the real revelation: the bailed-out were graceless and unrepentant. They resisted any similar help for the majority. Obama played along. His stimulus program was mild, like his aid to stressed homeowners. Books such as The Spirit Level (2010) pointed to the swelling damage but it was just a book. Then came Occupy Wall Street in the fall of 2011, with its slogan about the 1 per cent versus the 99 per cent. It resonated because it jibed with what people saw and experienced. It entered mass awareness. Occupy didn’t discover the gap, but they put it out where it could get political traction.- Paul Krugman makes the case as to why Obama shouldn't get bullied into letting the Republicans dictate the terms of a budget deal after winning a second mandate. [Update: See also Scott Lemieux' concise take.]
Obama’s “strategists” noticed. They were worried with an election coming and no serious recovery for anyone but the rich. Rising inequality began appearing in his speeches. Even Republicans noticed. They went from calling Occupy a mob, to saying they too fretted over “income disparity.” Obama’s own renditions of the theme were, I’d say, unenthusiastic, culminating in his listless performance at the first debate. Then, ironically, his competitiveness kicked in, he picked up his game, and went on to Tuesday’s victory.
But none of it would have worked, had Republicans not nominated the embodiment of Mr. One Per Cent, Mitt Romney. He likes firing people. He thinks 47 per cent of Americans are irresponsible takers. He parks his money abroad and won’t release his tax returns. All he lacks is a top hat and he surely has one in one of his homes. But the attacks, in turn, wouldn’t have taken, had Occupy not already poured the mould for Romney with its “1 per cent” trope.
- Bob Hepburn points out that Mitt Romney's campaign strategy featured plenty of anti-democratic tricks which the Harper Cons might seek to emulate. But given that all the employer intimidation, false robocalls and vote suppression couldn't actually tilt the election Romney's way, I'd think there's reason for even the most craven Con to be skeptical that the Republicans' model is really worth following.
- Meanwhile, the Cons already have to answer for plenty of campaign deception. And Saskboy draws some important links between the latest word from Robocon fall-guy Michael Sona and the evidence that's already public as to the connection between the Cons' CIMS database and the calls placed into multiple ridings.
- Finally, pogge wonders why former Con cabinet minister Chuck Strahl is being handed another patronage appointment when the public record shows him having done nothing in what should be an important role with the Security Intelligence Review Committee.