Obama in Elkhart: “I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Being Blunt About This”


Dave Weigel says that conservatives weren’t impressed with President Obama’s speech yesterday:

I was actually sort of surprised by the lack of conservative reaction to Obama’s speech. I guess they must be keeping their outrage to themselves—which is a bit odd, since Obama’s speech was about the most partisan attack on Republicans I’ve ever heard him give outside a campaign. Here’s a taste:

I’m going to start with the story that…most Republican candidates up and down the ticket are telling….America’s working class, America’s middle class — families like yours — have been victimized by a big, bloated federal government run by a bunch of left-wing elitists like me. And the government is taking your hard-earned tax dollars and it’s giving them to freeloaders and welfare cheats. And we’re strangling business with endless regulations. And this federal government is letting immigrants and foreigners steal whatever jobs Obamacare hasn’t killed yet. (Laughter.)

….I haven’t turned on Fox News or listened to conservative talk radio yet today, but I’ve turned them on enough over these past seven and a half years to know I’m not exaggerating in terms of their story….But it’s not supported by the facts. But they say it anyway. Now, why is that? It’s because it has worked to get them votes, at least at the congressional level.

Because — and here, look, I’m just being blunt with you — by telling hardworking, middle-class families that the reason they’re getting squeezed is because of some moochers at the bottom of the income ladder, because of minorities, or because of immigrants, or because of public employees, or because of feminists — (laughter) — because of poor folks who aren’t willing to work, they’ve been able to promote policies that protect powerful special interests and those who are at the very top of the economic pyramid. That’s just the truth. (Applause.)

I hope you don’t mind me being blunt about this, but I’ve been listening to this stuff for a while now. (Laughter.) And I’m concerned when I watch the direction of our politics. I mean, we have been hearing this story for decades. Tales about welfare queens, talking about takers, talking about the “47 percent.” It’s the story that is broadcast every day on some cable news stations, on right-wing radio, it’s pumped into cars, and bars, and VFW halls all across America, and right here in Elkhart.

There’s more, and it’s mostly a sustained attack on conservative misinformation about the economy and Obama’s policies. It’s also a sustained attack on Donald Trump, even though Trump’s name is never mentioned. After seven years of holding his tongue, it’s pretty obvious that Obama is eager for the Democratic primary to finish up so he can get out on the campaign trail and tell us what he really thinks of the Republican Party these days.

And if you’re interested in policy, here’s what Obama had to offer:

  • Raise the minimum wage
  • Increase unionization
  • More early childhood education
  • Free community college
  • Build more infrastructure
  • Expand Social Security
  • Pass TPP
  • Strengthen Wall Street regulations

That all sounds very Hillary-esque, doesn’t it?