Why the American Dream Is Bigger than Palin or McCain

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Below is a guest blog entry by economist and MoJo author Nomi Prins:

At some point today, (around the time I noticed Lindsay Lohan weighing in), I got hit with Sarah Palin overload.

Then, I realized that Palin’s omnipresence isn’t about John McCain or Barack Obama, or even this week’s RNC. It’s not about her experience or stance on issues. It’s about the “Pop” American Dream.

The old American Dream is dying. Rampant economic inequality makes the cost of working hard to achieve prohibitive. In a culture where more people vote for the next American Idol than for the next president, no wonder Sarah Palin is the top story: She defines the new American Dream, where leaping to the top against all odds is the end goal in itself. Of course there are voters appalled that someone ‘like her’ can be a ‘heartbeat away from the presidency.’ But there are also plenty of voters delighted that someone ‘like her’ has a shot at the ultimate American Dream—a spot in the White House.

Beneath the Palin hue and cry lie issues that will determine the next American Dream for 99 percent of America.

Those issues include the housing foreclosure and default crisis and the exponential growth in credit card debt. And they include a need to shift the tax burden, health care costs, and retirement risk away from the middle and poorer classes—so that they can afford an American Dream built on dedicated hard work.

That’s why it’s so important we get back to debating the issues, rather than Sarah Palin’s personal life.

—Nomi Prins

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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