Having "rocked the house" at SEIU Monday, Barack Obama put on another pumped-up performace at a rally in downtown Washington yesterday evening. It included a strikingly pointed riff that I didn't hear in Iowa last week, and which an aide tells me is a relatively new addition to his stump speech.
In it, Obama acknowledges that people who hear him talk about the politics of hope and transforming the culture of Washington may be thinking:
"I doubt my vote can make a difference. Every four years somebody comes and makes these big promises, and nothing happens. The game is fixed." And so folks just turn a blind eye, and they just walk away. Maybe they just settle on whatever seems like the safest bet. And just in case you're feeling that way, I just want to remind you that that's what people who think politics is a game are counting on. They are counting on you to walk away. They are counting on you not having confidence that your vote can make a difference. That's what they're are always banking on. That's how the politics of fear overcomes the politics of hope.
It seems clear that Obama is referring to the Clinton machine and its allies. If so, that's pretty tough stuff--he's not only calling them deeply cynical but fearmongers as well. I wonder whether Democratic primary voters are inclined to see Hillary and Bill in quite such a negative light.
Here's video of that passage:
P.S. John Edwards was talking about politics as "a parlor game" back in August.