Sunday, January 6, 2008

Issues? What are the issues?

Allan R. Bevere links to a David Brooks column in the New York Times that says, in part:

Huckabee understands how middle-class anxiety is really lived. Democrats talk about wages. But real middle-class families have more to fear economically from divorce than from a free trade pact. A person’s lifetime prospects will be threatened more by single parenting than by outsourcing. Huckabee understands that economic well-being is fused with social and moral well-being, and he talks about the inter-relationship in a way no other candidate has.

Meanwhile, switching color from red to blue, Baratunde Thurston talks about a hope that is not a town. First, the explanatory preface, from earlier in the CNN show:

STANFORD PATTON, NEVER VOTED: I have never voted in my life. I ain’t seen a...thing to vote for. I’m going to vote for this time, the first time, for Obama, you know, because the one thing he said, he’s going to try to get some justice for black men.

Thurston's reaction:

THURSTON: ...And in the second you just showed this old man, it actually — it hurts to see someone who feels so disenfranchised from the process, they wouldn’t trust the system at all to even cast a vote and to see that they have been changed, they have been brought into this process because of some hope they have that things might get a little better.

Later in the show, Jesse Jackson and Baratunde Thurston talk about an issue that affects black men. And it's not Iraq.

JACKSON: ...[T]here are 2.2 million Americans in jail. A million are young blacks. That’s the substance of our crisis. In every major city, seven of 10 young black males don’t finish high school. That means there must be some investment in urban education and choose schools over jails.

And, so, the substance involves budget and agenda. I think Barack represents that hope, that feeling. We must also fight for that substance. And that substance — Dr. King would say, freedom is not enough. We must pay for equality....

THURSTON: Just on that point — and I love that you brought up the prison thing, because that’s an issue that very few people even talk about.

One of the pieces of Obama’s plan that I was so impressed with, he wants to restore voting rights for ex-felons.

It seems that so much of our election 2008 analysis is focused on the macro level, but we forget that people operate at the micro level. Ronald Reagan's famous "are you better off" question wonderfully captured the micro level issues that were affecting people, and got them to identify a candidate with their personal situations. Will there be candidates in 2008 who can achieve the same thing?

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