Apostles of Nihilism
Republicans are winning the war of political rhetoric. Here's how the president needs to fight back.
What we need, in the alternative, is a full-throated response to Luntz from the Oval Office. Here are a few off-the-cuff suggestions for phrases Democrats can use to regain the momentum:
- It is time to get the cops back on the beat and the bank robbers out of the bank vault. It is your money—not theirs.
- "Heads I win; tails you lose" is a first-grade joke—not a theory for our banking system. Yet that is the game that has been played on us.
- If Wall Street wants to gamble on a casino economy, they will not use the American taxpayer as a chip on the table.
- For the first 50 years after the Great Depression, we avoided disaster—but then Washington bought the oldest line in the book from Wall Street bankers—trust me. We have learned the lesson—and we don't, and we won't.
A counternarrative has to be told: A market needs rules, and those who play by the rules must be protected from those who do not. The Republican rhetoric must be called out for what it is: a defense of the very institutions that caused the crisis and a mere continuation of the "Party of No" ideology that has prevented us from moving forward. The public anger that has so far been channeled by Sarah Palin and Scott Brown must be redirected in favor of the necessary structural shifts.
This is the moment for the president to establish that he is, in fact, the great communicator we saw during the campaign. The alternative is to let the sense of foreboding that is sliding across the nation metastasize into something far worse—a sense of defeat and cynicism, a sense that another decade of stagnation will leave us dangerously at the precipice.