How might all of these people and entities be related?
Ronald Reagan and Wal-Mart were subjects on the minds of the leading Democratic candidates for president this week.
A few days ago candidate Barack Obama made reference to Ronald Reagan as a "transformative figure" in American politics. He spoke of Reagan as a man who came at a particular time of need in this country. This was Obama last week or so. Of course the word "Ronald Reagan" is like the word "anti-Christ" among a significant portion of the base of support that Barack Obama has. If figured that there is no way in hell that the issue of "Ronald Reagan" would be inserted into the campaign and then allowed to depart so easily.
As I tuned into the "Rush Limbaugh Show" last week I heard Rush talk about Obama's reference and point to an article that provided analysis to Obama's use of Reagan's "imagery" but not his "substance".
As a Black man it is my editorial obligation that when ever I post a reference to either Fox News Channel or to Rush Limbaugh that is not a savage attack of them I must retain my "street cred" by indicating that I also watch left wing Link TV and "Democracy Now" on the radio. Now back to the subject at hand.
Rush Limbaugh pointed to the following blog entry in the Contentions blog
But Obama’s words also reflect on him. So far his campaign is largely about capturing a mood rather than about advocating a set of ideas–and at the end of the day, changing the trajectory of America depends on ideas and policies, not sentiment. Reagan was an optimistic person–but that is not his lasting achievement. And if Reagan’s policies had failed rather than succeeded, his optimism would have looked badly misplaced and would now be used against him. Barack Obama, who so far has shown himself to be an utterly orthodox liberal (as has Hillary Clinton), now has to take the next step and show that he is bold and creative in the realm of ideas and policies, which was a hallmark of Reagan. So far Obama hasn’t–and that has been the glaring weakness in his otherwise impressive campaign.
So in summary - they acknowledged Obama's analysis that Reagan was a transformative figure but they made note that Obama did not grab the essence of Reagan's ideas. In fact Limbaugh argued that Obama despised Reagan's substance while at the same time appreciating his style.
It took only a few days and another debate for Mr. Limbaugh to be proven right. There is simply no way that Mr. Obama regard for Reagan to reside unchallenged. As the blows between he and Ms. Clinton were exchanged Mr. Obama did indeed strip any pretense of regard for Reagan's policies. In fact he made the case that it was Reagan who motivated workers to vote against their own best interests in supporting Reagan's presidency. Mr. Obama claimed to have been working in the streets at the time to overcome the negative impact of the policies that Reagan had interjected in the poor communities of Chicago and elsewhere in America - according to the view of Mr. Obama. More on this is a second.
In the next volley between Obama and Clinton - Mr. Obama fires back - attacking Hillary Clinton for her position on the board of the Wal-Mart corporation. Just as my sidebar on "Fox News" and "Rush Limbaugh" above - it is well understood in left wing circles that one can tar and feather one's opponent by linking him or her to the much demonized "Wal-Mart".
About 2 weeks ago in the Avondale Estates section of Atlanta there were about 10,000 people lined up to acquire about 400 jobs that the new Wal-Mart was proposing for the area. You see in this the 2nd wealthiest Black county in America - Dekalb County Georgia - the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Avondale Estates had replaced the long closed and abandoned Avondale Mall. A few miles again just the same - a new Wal-Mart on Grehsham Road replaced a long abandoned flea market that was an eyesore for the community. Despite the attacks upon its character - nearly all Wal-Marts in the metro area have a majority Black set of both employees and shoppers.
One gets tired of those who THEORIZE about the low wages that the firm pays and the claim that every Wal-Mart shuts down several "mom and pop" shops in the area and thus they are a net negative for the community. It seems that Wal-Mart is like the liquor store or the strip joint in the community - it is good to condemn such an entity on Sunday in church but the same person sneaks to the venue themselves at night so no one can see that they too consume from the tree of ill gotten goods and worker exploitation. From my perspective the "vote against one's best interest" is the choice to go with the politician that makes heavy use of rhetoric while failing to employ the great amount of resources in the same community that remain idle despite their pronouncements. Love them or hate them - Wal-Mart provides value to many people who shop there. In my next bit of research I plan to find more information about the occurrence of protests in Harlem years ago as the Black females revolted against the HIGH PRICES that they were charged by grocery stores in their communities. Its funny how we can advance several years in the future and have a business that offers lower prices and yet people have a negative sentiment because these low prices come as a consequence of $10 per hour wages rather than a union wage of $25 per hour that would break the business model and turn these stores back into the vacant buildings that they once were.
Once again the concept of "voting against one's best interest" - a word that is more frequently cast upon the working class White male who seemingly turns against his economic interests and votes for the "party of the rich" - the Republicans. Upon careful investigation and as we shift from the spot point in time where the block buster union contract or government regulation that provides the worker a pay raise - over to the decades long view of how the market responds in aggregate, where capital investments have run their course and the business entity (some say "The Empire") STRIKES BACK - it is clear to me at least that the concept of "VOTING AGAINST YOUR BEST INTERESTS" is a word that is best applied to the Quasi-Socialists and their proclivity at government engineering. From the current sub-prime mortgage crisis that had its start in a desire to provide financing and a home to those who formerly didn't qualify; to the predictions that the Rust Belt States that are in decline will yield congressional representation to the "Right To Work" states of the South.
Those who speak the most rhetoric believe that they can operate with "the will of the people" but they have little concept of economic reality and how to balance their rhetoric with marketplace reality and the people's needs for JOBS.
The previous migration of Black folks from the South to the North was motivated by the sting of racism in South coupled with the availability of plentiful jobs in the North - jobs that were created by entities that would likely be attacked by Mr. Obama or Mr. Edwards. Today's migration of Blacks and other folks from the North back down South is due to the economic climate that has been created both in the North and in the South due to government policy.
The facts are all too clear on who actually is working against the best interests of the poor and middle class in America with their policies. It just takes a bit of time and a whole lot of "counter-spin" to bear this out.