Obama, The Campaign Season Populist?
If you’re old enough to remember the Shirelles, a great pop singing group that started recording in the late 1950s, you’ll also probably remember one of their biggest hits — “Will you still love me tomorrow.” Whenever I hear President Obama speak these days, I’m reminded of the lyrical sentiment of that song.
In a recent speech, Mr. Obama said that economic inequality is “the defining issue of our time.” That’s something that has been noted for a very long time by virtually all left-leaning thinkers. But anyone who has followed this president’s own policy-making since coming to office would be hard-pressed to find anything he’s done to rectify that inequality.
The Shirelles sang that “Tonight, the light of love is your eyes/But will you love me tomorrow.” And I’m wondering that in this election season, with the words of populism flowing from Mr. Obama’s mouth, will he still translate these words into actual policy if he gets reelected.
Or if he does get reelected, will he just keep all the Wall Street and big business advisers who fed him the ideas that shaped his first term’s economic policies, or just substitute their clones? And then somehow decide that maybe inequality is too big an issue, defining as it is, to take on in a meaningful way?
Will progressives still love him tomorrow — the tomorrow after election day? Will he hone to this campaign season’s progressive tone better than he did with last election season’s promises?
I would like to believe so. But…
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