We're blogging live from Netroots Nation 2010!
Posted by jeckert on 07/22/2010
We're at Netroots Nation and are liveblogging a panel discussion,¬†"The 2010 Elections: Channeling the Power of Jobs, Populism and the Angry Voter."¬† The panelists are:
- Dave Johnson, a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future.
- Mark Mellman, a leading public opinion researcher.
- Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).
- Annabel Park, an award-winning filmmaker.
-concern over the loss of American manufacturing jobs and the lack of work being done on the issue by Congress is an urgent matter for voters; -support for¬†manufacturing has¬†overwhelming support across all demographics; -voters are very upset that¬†the United States has¬†lost its status as the world's strongest economy, something they want to regain.Voters want Congress and the Administration to fight for jobs, but they don't see any action being taken: "Congress is not paying attention to the needs of working people."¬† This translates into less favorable ratings for Congress and the President among manufacturing households. In the poll, 57% of Americans thought manufacturing was the key industry for America's future. Voters realize that manufacturing can not be easily replaced. Only 11% of Americans have a favorable view of imports from China.¬† They also believe China is the world's top economy. Scott Paul is emphasizing the importance of this recent poll, and that it was really presented to members of Congress.¬† In response, House Democrats are putting together a "Making it in America" plan.¬† Now, Annabel Park is speaking.¬† She made a documentary film about immigration, then "accidentally" launched a political movement, the "Coffee Party," which now has 250,000 Facebook followers.¬† The movement is trying to shift politics away from the "usual fights."¬† The goal is to establish civility in the political dialogue. The current political scene is toxic.¬† The question is how to make "civility go viral?" Filmmakers recently visited the Gulf oil spill.¬† There is a big difference between public reporting on the gulf and what their visit found.¬† Annabel is showing a brief clip of a Gulf worker who filed a claim with BP.¬† Initially, BP promised to play his claim, then denied it.¬† The point: the economy surrounding the Gulf, though not "directly affected," has been hurt, too.¬† These people's businesses and lives have also been affected. Annabel tells the story of another worker who lost his job and has been working on tar clean-up.¬† The worker worries about the potential health hazards of cleaning oil. There are political and humanitarian questions at stake. Dave Johnson is now speaking. He is citing the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression,¬†and the needed¬†efforts to help affected workers and families.¬† In today's recession, there is a "messaging problem.'¬† Public blame affects¬†voters. Political narrative does not necessary follow the facts.¬† Conflicting facts and claims about government deficits, Wall Street bailouts, and federal stimulus.¬† How do we get the public to learn all the facts?¬† Be a responsible voter. The Tea Party "hates" big corporations because they understand the effect of corporate lobbying, and that it's not helping them. There is a disconnect on the idea of "government spending."¬† While voters may oppose government spending, if one views social security or medicare as government spending, then some government spending is "okay." Everyone recognizes that shipping jobs overseas is a net problem for the country.¬† It's an issue that resonates. Scott Paul is closing the panel He cites Richard Nixon imposing import quotas, and Ronald Reagan expanded Buy America-- examples of Republicans fighting for U.S. workers and manufacturing. It's a winning issue.¬† Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) won his seat because he campaigned against trade agreements that have cost U.S. jobs.¬† Voters "get it," and they support candidates who will fight for them.¬† (Mark Schauer in Michigan ran on the same message). By contrast, John McCain's record of opposing Buy America policy while supporting tax breaks for offshoring.¬† Barack Obama campaigned on promises to support Buy America--something he needed to be "reminded of" once he took office. Bottom line: candidates who run on a platform of saving U.S. manufacturing, opposing "outsourcing,"¬†and getting tough on China are winning elections. A good example: Rob Portman in Ohio should be vulnerable due to his record of outsourcing while serving as a trade official in the Bush Administration. Question and Answer session: Question about the possibility of turning the economy around.¬† Scott Paul says that much needs to be done. Question about NAFTA and China as killing U.S. jobs.¬† This is not a Democrat or Republican issue.¬† It's a matter of turning the economy around. Audience comment about public anger at government.¬† Ie. bailout of banks, spening of money on programs that don't work.
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