One of the things never discussed by ‘framers’ is anger. Anger, especially righteous anger, is a powerful motivation, yet progressives and Democratic political operatives seem oblivious to his. Thankfully, we have Lance Mannion to set us straight (italics original; boldface mine):
The Democrats aren’t going to lose Congress because the Right Wingers are going to come out to vote. They’re going to lose because Democrats are going to stay home.
And this isn’t going to happen because the President has been insufficiently attentive to the vanities of liberal bloggers who like to think of themselves as the President’s base.
It’s going to happen because the President and the Democratic leadership have been insufficiently aware and sympathetic. They don’t seem to realize that it’s not just the Right Wingers who are angry and afraid. They don’t seem to care that people, Democrats as well as Republicans and Independents, are unhappy.
People have cause for resentment, for their fears, for their anger. They have grievances. They have been abused, misused, exploited, despised, and cast aside.
Look at all we’ve accomplished, the President and the Democrats say, justly.
But the economy still stinks, the people reply.
Give it time, the President and the Democrats answer back. You’ll see.
But that’s not reassurance. It’s a dismissal.
The President set out to save the economy by saving the system, and people hate the system.
We grow up being told that the world is our oyster, that we can do anything we want to be, that dreams really do come true, that if we try hard enough we can achieve anything.
Then we spend our entire working lives having it proved on a daily basis that none of this is true.
Let the Republicans run Congress and things are only going to get worse!
Worse for whom?
His name is Alan Simpson. He’s co-chair of the President’s own deficit commission.
In the last week and a half he’s made it clear how much worse he’d like to see things get.
Did he get fired?
Did the President tell him off?
Did the President say anything?
Things will get worse if the Republicans gain control of Congress. A lot worse. And the President and the Democrats have accomplished a lot. And I believe that what they’ve accomplished will bear fruit, given time.
But people don’t feel like they have the time.
People feel that at the moment they are in a lot of trouble.
People feel that nobody in Washington is listening, that nobody in Washington cares about what they’re feeling.
Then, yesterday, I found this by Kathleen Parker:
In rehearsal for our upcoming CNN show, “ParkerSpitzer,” co-anchor Eliot Spitzer and I interviewed two psychiatrists to help explain why Obama can’t seem to connect with the American people.
Their take: He likes relating to people on positives — hope and change — but can’t relate to anger. He steers clear of negatives.
The major failing of the Democrats over the last two to three years has been a failing to comprehend how angry people are (although one would have thought the Tea Buggers might have been a big clue). They’re pissed that various rent extractions (all those hidden ‘fees’) are increasing. They’re pissed that the greater you fail, the higher you rise. They’re pissed that they’ve been playing with a stacked deck.
And they get really pissed off when some well-meaning pseudo-liberal tells them that they too must sacrifice, not just the rich: for many middle-class families the last decade hasn’t been easy, and, besides, there’s nothing else left for them to give anyway. As Lance put it, they need a break, and, instead, they get the back of the hand. Meanwhile, there can never be too much aid for the wealthy and for corporations.
And that’s the amazing thing: despite the incessant propaganda on behalf of the wealthy, a majority of Americans still think the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire for the wealthy. That’s not just motivated by ‘fairness’, but anger–people want to nail these guys to the wall. And not the symbolic sacrificial lamb, what’s needed to slake the anger is a sustained offensive. People want change, and some of that change should be…unpleasant. But many Democratic politicians are too much in bed with said potential nailees (and the Republicans are a lost cause all together). At the same time, Democratically-aligned members of the chattering class simply don’t have an appreciation of the anger, in large part, because they don’t live the circumstances that make people angry (or haven’t done so in a very long time). They don’t understand what it’s like when a good month means you have a few hundred dollars more than you did last month (and at that level, no sacrifice is too trivial). They don’t have any idea what it’s like to face ‘job uncertainty’ or losing your job due to circumstances completely beyond your control–and then watch, as those who actually caused your unemployment, profit by it.
Meanwhile, if you’re a rank-and-file Democrat, the administration is triangulating against you. And most Democrats feel as powerless to significantly change things as they did in the Bush administration
So instead, the field is ceded to the Palins and the Becks, as Mannion notes:
But voters’ feelings matter, because voters are people, and people’s feelings matter.
And right now people feel bad.
Because things are bad.
And the only politicians who seem to notice or care are Right Wing demagogues like Sarah Palin.
Anger is the appropriate emotion. Do our political ‘betters’ understand that?