Dec 17 2012

 

 

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For his column for the Daily Beast, commentator and author Robert Shrum has picked his winner and losers from this election year. As always Shrum offers that special insight. You can read the entire column by clicking here but here is an excerpt:

2. The Populist Appeal. This is the ground of the Democratic Party’s being—or as FDR expressed it, the conviction that “sound economic improvement comes from the improved conditions of the whole population and not a small fraction.” This was not just expressed in the Bain attacks—which were providentially reinforced by Romney’s “47 percent” comment animadversion—the gaffe of all gaffes, which left him twisting slowly, slowly in the political wind. The campaign focused relentlessly on tax fairness, demanding that the wealthy pay their fair share. There was a robust embrace of Obamacare and Wall Street reform. The once reviled auto bailouts became the president’s linchpin in Ohio. And whether in that role or after Hurricane Sandy, government itself was seen and spoken of as an affirmative instrument of high purpose and economic progress.

Gone was the timid triangulation that danced around and away from the liberal ideal. If Hillary Clinton seeks the White House in 2016, she will run as the legacy of an Obama-renewed progressivism, not as a successor to the maneuver end trimming of the 1990s. For years into the future, the Democratic Party will carry forward the mission described by Ted Kennedy at the 1980 convention—“to speak for those who have no voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the frustrations and fulfill the aspirations of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land.” As the president prevails one way or another on the fiscal cliff, as health reform takes hold and gathers more and more popular support, as the economy revives, “the great purposes of the Democratic Party,” in Kennedy’s words, will be the continuing, central, and animating force for Democratic candidates and presidents; they will not “become bygone passages of history.”

That is the great achievement of Barack Obama in a grueling election year. Yes, he’s a big winner. But even more so are the party and the principles he renewed