By Zachary A. Goldfarb
SAN JOSE — On the West Coast to raise millions of dollars for his party, President Obama spent the second half of this week preaching to rich supporters about why Democrats are better than Republicans. It sounded like a conventional stump speech in the windup to the midterm battle — including a rote apology to the first lady for running another campaign.
Listen closely, however, and you could hear the president making a much more dramatic statement about the importance of this year’s elections.
As he toured a series of mansions, Obama made the case that should Democrats fail to keep their hold on the Senate and do not win back the House, both his second-term priorities and the country’s future could be imperiled.
He described the public’s dissatisfaction with Washington as nearly at a tipping point, where working-class Americans see leaders as unresponsive to their most basic concerns. If that were to continue, he said, more middle-class Americans could dismiss the political process completely.
“You’ve got a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Obama said Wednesday night in Los Angeles at the home of Walt Disney Studios chief executive Alan Horn and his wife, Cindy. “People who have the most at stake in a government that works opt out of the system. Those who don’t believe that government can do anything are empowered. Gridlock reigns, and we get this downward spiral of even more cynicism and more dysfunction.”
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