For those skeptics that think Obama's falling popularity and the Democrats' loss of three statewide races so far this year has anything to do with 10 percent unemployment or an increase of nearly $1.7 trillion in national debt on his watch, well, that just shows they haven't a clue who the real culprits are. It's George W. Bush's fault -- oh, and his banker friends.
Never mind that the same folks Obama now calls "reckless" are among the Democrats' most reliable financial backers -- Goldman Sachs gave 73 percent of its political contributions to Democrats in 2006-2008, and hedge funds have given 70 percent of their funds to Dems so far in the 2010 election cycle, according to National Review's Kevin Williamson. But so long as Obama tells the American people that the bank "rescue, undertaken by the Bush administration, was deeply offensive" (even if "it was the necessary thing to do," as he conceded this week), they'll think it's Republicans who are in bed with the banks, not him or Democrats in Congress.
Obama is all about change. And now it's time to change the subject. Let's not talk about Democrats' defeat at the polls. Let's not talk about Americans' dislike of a government-run health care system. Or about disappearing jobs. Let's find an enemy we can all agree to hate. Bankers are evil; we've known that since Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey took on the villainous Henry F. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life." Obama just needs to rally the people to take on Big Banking and they'll forget all their own problems.
Politics has nothing to do with the democratic will of the people. It's all about messaging, and Obama just needs to fine tune his.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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