[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
I know everyone was entranced by Bill Clinton's speech last night, as well they should have been. The man has more charisma in his pinkie than the biggest rock star has in their entire body. And there's no question he laid out the most compelling case possible for re-electing President Obama. But the really important speech last night in terms of raw substance, by far, was Elizabeth Warren's 15 minutes.
Because Warren made clear, even more than Clinton, what really is at stake in this election. It's down to a simple choice for Americans: Do they want democracy, or do they want oligarchy, rule by the rich? It's really that simple, that stark, and that significant.
Here's Warren last night:
I’m here tonight to talk about hard-working people: people who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with homework; people who can be counted on to help their kids, their parents, their neighbors, and the lady down the street whose car broke down; people who work their hearts out but are up against a hard truth--the game is rigged against them.As D-Day puts it:
... People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: they’re right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs--the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs--still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.
Anyone here have a problem with that? Well I do.
... The Republican vision is clear: “I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.” Republicans say they don’t believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people.
No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama.
That’s simply a far more honest portrayal of the America we actually live in than anyone usually articulates on stage at a national political convention. She told the story in broad strokes, the story people feel in their core, the story that anyone paying attention since the Great Recession knows. We’re not a fairy-tale land where everyone can grow up and be whatever they want. We’re not a land of social mobility and equality of opportunity.
We’re in an economy that’s unraveled pretty badly, and over a 30-year period, that has cut off those avenues for mobility, and now has become a favor factory for the rich and powerful. People may not want to hear this; but they know it.