Obama dredged up and recycled a stereotypical all-American bootstrap family that any plutocrat could love, for a speech designed to make you feel that plutocracy-imposed hardship and austerity is just the ticket to bring you joy and rapture later. Much, much, much later.
Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. (Laughter.) She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way. They were young and in love in America. And it doesn’t get much better than that. “If only we had known,” Rebekah wrote to me last spring, “what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.”
As the crisis worsened, Ben’s business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans and enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job and then a raise. Ben is back in construction -- and home for dinner every night.
“It is amazing,” Rebekah wrote, “what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.” We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.
America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard and scrimped, and sacrificed and retooled. You are the reason that I ran for this office. You are the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation.* And it has been your resilience, your effort that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger.June 28, 2014 ( weekly address to mark the Presidential Summer of Love & Recovery campaign):
I went because of a letter I received from a working mother named Rebekah, who shared with me the hardships her young family has faced since the financial crisis. She and her husband Ben were just newlyweds expecting their first child, Jack, when the housing crash dried up his contracting business. He took what jobs he could, and Rebekah took out student loans and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed – for their kids, and for each other. And five years later, they’ve paid off debt, bought their first home, and had their second son, Henry.
In her letter to me, she wrote, “We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.” And in many ways, that’s America’s story these past five years. We are a strong, tight-knit family that’s made it through some very tough times.
Today, over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs. By measure after measure, our economy is doing better than it was five years ago.
But as Rebekah also wrote in her letter, there are still too many middle-class families like hers who do everything right – who work hard and who sacrifice – but can’t seem to get ahead. It feels like the odds are stacked against them. And with just a small change in our priorities, we could fix that.It was revealed by Reuters and other outlets last summer that Rebekah Bootstrap just happened to be a former operative for Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), which is perhaps why Obama noticed her random letter at the top of his pile, and why the entire Bootstrap family were Michelle Obama's honored recycled photo-opped guests at last night's political theater extravaganza.
And just so you know, the new improved progressive lefty Obama spouting the message of the "middle class economy" is really just a recycled version of the old neoliberal Obama. He still believes that austerity worked, and that pain was good for people. He still protects Wall Street by not only refusing to condemn or prosecute it, but by filling his administration with the same culprits who caused the whole mess in the first place. He still believes that the government is just like a family, and that belt-tightening was a very, very good to way to grow the economy. He has always made the "folks" bear the brunt of the sacrifice while forcing them to shoulder the blame for the most egregious financial fraud in American, or global, history. From his first Inaugural Address, at the peak of the financial crisis:
*Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.***
Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. (Applause.)Last night:
My fellow Americans, we, too, are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We have laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let’s begin this new chapter together -- and let’s start the work right now. (Applause.)You may remember an old movie called Swing Time in which Fred Astaire also uses the ploy of pretending to have two left feet in order to pull one over on the object of his desire and to win her love through shameless subterfuge and doubletalk. Nothing's impossible, Obama found, for when his feet are on the ground and his chin is up in the air despite bad poll numbers and half of all American children living in poverty, he can put on quite the show. All you Bootstrappers need is confidence and the willing suspension of disbelief.