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.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Martin Longman

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