Fighting in a Defensive Crouch

This is just ridiculous:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Income inequality is out, “ladders of opportunity” is in.

Eager to dispel claims that President Barack Obama is engaging in “class warfare” as he heads into his State of the Union address next week, the White House is de-emphasizing phrases focusing on economic disparity and turning instead to messages about creating paths of opportunity for the poor and middle class.

The adjustment reflects an awareness that Obama’s earlier language put him at risk of being perceived as divisive and exposed him to criticism that his rhetoric was exploiting the gap between haves and have-nots.

The White House can choose to emphasize whatever they want, but the idea that the president should seek to avoid being seen as divisive because he’s engaging in “class warfare” is a bad joke. That’s fighting on the Republicans’ turf using the language of Frank Luntz. When the day comes that the president calls for rich people’s heads on pikes, then he’ll be divisive. Until that time, he’s merely pointing out that the wealth disparity in this country has grown to an historic level, and something ought to be done about it.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at