OBAMA BORROWS FROM MADDOW IN NETROOTS APPEAL…. In a bit of a surprise yesterday afternoon, attendees at this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas heard a pre-recorded message from President Obama. It was a reminder that as the midterms draw closer — 100 days until Election Day — Democratic leaders will be making a more concerted effort to appeal to progressives.
As for the president’s message, it seemed implicit that the White House understands liberal frustration with the pace of progress, but Obama wants to remind the left “to consider all that we’ve accomplished so far.”
At that point, the video stopped showing the president, and started showing a segment from “The Rachel Maddow Show,” aired about a month ago. It showed the host pointing to some of the breakthrough accomplishments of the last 18 months: Wall Street reform, the Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, S-CHIP expansion, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, nuclear arms deal with Russia, a new global nonproliferation initiative, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, dismantled the MMS, and student loan reform.
The list didn’t include, by the way, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, and the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years. These were probably left out of the litany to save time, which in and of itself seems significant — the accomplishments are so plentiful, there’s just not enough time in a four-minute presentation to mention them all.
The fact that the White House made use of the Maddow clip was also an interesting move. The president could have just as easily read the same list of successes himself, but the video instead relied on an outside voice to lend the accomplishments more objective credibility. That Rachel is probably more popular with many NN attendees right now than the president didn’t hurt, either.
It’s also worth noting that the clip wasn’t just about Obama taking a victory lap. The president emphasized that “we’re not done,” and vowed to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Which led to the midterm pitch: “We’re moving America forward. When we’ve come this far, we can’t afford to slide back. And that’s the choice America faces this November. Between going back to the failed policies that got us into this mess, and moving forward with policies that are leading us out. I don’t need to tell you that. What I’m asking you is to keep making your voices heard. To keep holding me accountable. To keep up the fight. Change is hard, but if we’ve learned anything these past 18 months, it’s that change is possible. It’s possible when folks like you remember the fundamental truth of our democracy: that change doesn’t come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up. It comes from the Netroots, the grassroots, every American who loves their country and believes they can make a difference. We’ve done it before. We can do it again. Let’s finish what we’ve started.”