The populist formula, FTW


Last night, when we aired the footage of Elizabeth Warren explaining wealth, debt and taxes in America, the general response in the #Maddow twitters amounted to “Hello, first Madam President.” Ms. Warren, of course, is now running in the Massachusetts Democratic primary for Senate.

Your response reminded me of Barack Obama’s speech to the Democratic national convention in 2004, when he was running for an Illinois Senate seat. This was his introduction to America:

If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription drugs, and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

It is that fundamental belief, it is that fundamental belief, I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America - there’s the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

Mr. Obama went on to win that Illinois Senate seat of course, and four years later, he became president. What launched him as a national figure was getting the populist formula right, putting it in a way that everyone could understand.

For those who haven’t seen the tape, Elizabeth Warren’s remarks are after the jump.


Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama

The populist formula, FTW