In past election campaigns, President Barack Obama has framed his advocacy for the poor and middle class in non-adversarial, post-partisan terms. But, this time around, he’s going for full-blooded class warfare, Politico
Republicans already have criticized the president for that strategy, but he’s not running away from it. “Now, you can call this class warfare all you want,” Obama said in his State of the Union address Tuesday, referring to his proposal for higher taxes on the wealthy.
“But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.”
It’s unclear how the populist strategy will work out for Obama. Part of the reason for his success in 2008 was that his inclusive, non-confrontational style appealed to independent and moderate voters. His new strategy risks alienating these very same voters.
On the other hand, much of Newt Gingrich’s popularity in the Republican presidential race stems from his own sort of populism – painting Mitt Romney as out of touch with ordinary Americans, for example. So Obama’s change in tactics may carry some merit.
But Gingrich’s populism is more subtle. He doesn’t advocate higher taxes on the wealthy, for example. And that subtlety may give him a leg up over Obama.
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