The New Silent Majority is Obama’s


    Today, the University of Richmond witnessed a camaraderie and fellowship you rarely see at non-sporting events. President Obama drew almost 9000 to his first road pitch of the new American Jobs Act. Any claim this wasn’t spontaneous is easily dismissed. The announcement was made and they came in droves.

    “You expect in a time of crisis, everybody stops the political circus and acts to do something to help people; to help the economy.” – President Obama

    What you heard while waiting outside, then seated waiting for the President, and afterwards were exactly those things the President spoke to today. It is an eerie realization that what Americans are worried about are the same pocketbook issues that helped define the silent majority that Republicans once claimed as their own. No more. Who you heard this President address are those who “may be looking for a job, or … know somebody who is looking for a job…make sacrifices to make ends meet; …work hard to meet … responsibilities… expect the people (they) send to Washington to do the same thing.” No Republican or Teavangelist’s mein connects to more than a sliver of this middle America.  

    Yesterday, they flocked to the school for tickets. Thousands filed through the small campus in a well organized short-notice effort. The University deserves credit for the efficient process (the Communications Director was on hand throughout), and those who lined up were handed tickets expeditiously. By 6:30 AM this morning there were already hundreds outside the doors of the Robins Center. By 9:30 there was a serpentine line over a mile long snaking across the entire campus; a sight no one had ever witnessed. Attendees took advantage of satellite parking and public and private transit so that the campus was never overwhelmed; they cooperated. Folks visited and waited for the doors to open. Once inside, they filled the remaining time between the invocation, the pledge of allegiance, and the National Anthem neatly spaced to break the monotony of the wait, by doing the wave, chanting, and discussing the event. These are the Americans that make America work and these belong to President Obama.

    Yes, the other side is vocal and sometimes angry, reminiscent of those protesting the Viet Nam War. But their arguments, while engaging and often insightful, aren’t at the top of middle America’s day to day priorities. You still have to win over middle America and the other message simply doesn’t resonate (How many showed for Eric Cantor’s event?). Let them be happy in their echo chamber. Maybe that is why there was no presence of any back bench point of view to be seen anywhere on campus. They just can’t be bothered with the “unwashed.” Instead, OFA was there reaching out accompanied by a number of Obama supporters with signs and cheers. The other organization noticeably absent and missing the connection was the Democratic Party of Virginia. You wouldn’t guess that there is an election a few weeks away.  

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      The White House got the messaging absolutely right with this piece of legislation: The American Jobs Act, a.k.a. “the jobs bill.”

      My favorite line from the President’s speech in Richmond is, “We are bigger than the pettiness of our politics.”  

    • kindler

      Considering all that we have suffered at the hands of the banks, the wealthy who refuse to pay their part, the corporations offshoring our jobs, the fossil fuel industry imperiling our future — even our present — and the military-indusfrial complex chewing up our resources around the world for endless, pointless adventures — considering all that, we should be in the streets raising hell. Not silent at all.  

    • Teddy Goodson

      Was this a strictly Obama-run event; did its organizers hold it tight to their chests, and not want any help from the local party; or was the DPVA asleep at the switch, unable to mount even a minor presence,like registering voters, recruiting, leafletting, so on? Maybe this would have distracted from the President’s dead serious public relations sales job on his Jobs bill, and the DPVA held off completely…. it does make one wonder.

    • according to Geoff Garin, Hart Research Associates:

      Last night I convened a group of 32 swing voters in suburban Richmond (Eric Cantor’s district) to watch President Obama’s speech to Congress. We measured respondents’ reactions to the speech using interactive dials. In addition to gauging respondents’ moment-to-moment impressions during the speech, we measured the impact of the speech by comparing ratings of President Obama on key attributes before and after his address to Congress.

      Simply put, the speech was a home run, and succeeded on several important levels.

      Substantively, these swing voters liked the President’s proposals. They came to the speech with deep concerns about the economic situation and came away from the speech persuaded and encouraged that Obama has good ideas for improving America’s economy.

      The dial ratings stayed high throughout virtually all of the President’s proposals-with particularly strong responses to his proposals to invest in America’s infrastructure, modernize America’s schools, continue the payroll tax break for middle-class Americans, provide new tax breaks for small businesses, and put teachers who have been laid off back to work.

    • linda b

      they helped in many ways. It was supposed to be about the people, and it was.