The recently taciturn former President Barack Obama broke his silence Thursday, speaking at a DNC fundraiser about how it’s time to stop “kvetching” and “howling at the moon” and get mobilized instead—even if the candidates are less inspiring than he was.
According to a Friday Politico report, Obama focused on a message of hope over despair, though he acknowledged to the crowd that “you are right to be concerned.”
“Do not wait for the perfect message, don’t wait to feel a tingle in your spine because you’re expecting politicians to be so inspiring and poetic and moving that somehow, ‘OK, I’ll get off my couch after all and go spend the 15-20 minutes it takes for me to vote,’” he said. “Because that’s part of what happened in the last election.”
He also acknowledged the down-ballot shellacking Democrats took across the country during his tenure. “I’ll be honest with you, if I have a regret during my presidency, it is that people were so focused on me and the battles we were having, particularly after we lost the House, that folks stopped paying attention up and down the ballot,” Obama said.
He said that Democrats should take a page out of the Republican book when it comes to philosophy. “They don’t worry about inspiration,” Obama said. “They worry about winning the seat and they are very systematic about work not just at the presidential level but at the congressional and state legislative levels.”
He added that, until candidates emerge and a clear 2020 message is formulated, people can use his slogan: “yes we can.”
“All these people that are out here kvetching and wringing their hands and stressed and anxious and constantly watching cable TV and howling at the moon, ‘What are we going to do?,’ their hair’s falling out, they can’t sleep,” Obama said. “The majority of the American people prefer a story of hope. A majority of the American people prefer a country that comes together rather than being divided. The majority of the country doesn’t want to see a dog-eat-dog world where everybody is angry all the time.”