NYTimes stenographer Bai finds the whole “soliciting votes from the — shudder — ‘middle class'” idea distasteful:
… The opening festivities on Tuesday, at least before Michelle Obama’s emotional prime-time appearance, were about dispensing with all the speakers whom Democrats didn’t really want the rest of the county to notice. Jimmy Carter did a video. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took the stage to remind Americans of how much they love Congress. There was a moving tribute to Ted Kennedy.
Wednesday, though, begins the hard sell of President Obama to the middle class. And for this task, the campaign has juxtaposed two prime-time speakers — Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton, one right after the other — who in their core philosophies represent contradictory, even irreconcilable strains of American liberalism.
Mr. Obama’s strategists will tell themselves what they have said since the president first ran in 2008 — that there is no real inconsistency in these two wings of the party, that both Mr. Clinton and Ms. Warren speak to the same imperiled middle class, a category so broad and ill-defined that the vast majority of Americans would say they belong to it….
…[I]n their essential worldviews, Mr. Clinton and Ms. Warren nicely embody the enduring confusion over what it is Mr. Obama really believes about the direction of his party and the country. As a candidate in 2008, Mr. Obama took advantage of an extraordinary moment to run as all things to all people; beneath the airy notion of “hope and change” lay an implicit appeal to disaffected independents and fatigued liberals. And this noncommittal strategy worked spectacularly.
As Mr. Clinton himself once told me, however, there are consequences for not clarifying one’s own beliefs as a candidate and then trying to make it up as you go along in office. He wasn’t talking specifically about Mr. Obama, but he might as well have been. As president, Mr. Obama has often seemed to veer between “postpartisan” pragmatism and anticorporate populism, confounding his supporters and satisfying neither constituency.
In truth, though, Mr. Clinton and Ms. Warren speak to different audiences and reflect inescapably divergent perspectives on how to confront the epic challenges of globalization and inequality…
Shorter Matt Bai: Life was so much simpler when Everyone Who Mattered dutifully took dictation from the Cheney Administration, and there was no unseemly debate about ‘facts’ and ‘goals’! If only the vulgar populace would return to voting exactly as their wealthy betters demanded, and we poor abused Media Villagers didn’t have to work so hard!
Since bully-adoring cowards like Bai never risk their precious remora selves anywhere outside the gated media community (and it’s hard to find an invertebrate’s neck for punching), here’s a powerful replacement means of dissent: