Obama, Romney Fighting For Support Of Middle Class Workers
The 1980s gave birth to the term Reagan Democrats. These were traditional middle-class Democratic voters who felt that they were getting squeezed by both the affluent, who did not need government benefits, as well as by the poor - particularly minorities on whose welare the Democratic Party was concentrating.
The defection of the Reagan Democrats from the Democratic Party explains the ascendancy of the Republican Party in national politics during that decade.
As one of the party's leaders who wanted to move the Democratic Party back to the center, Governor Bill Clinton attempted to recapture these Democrats by revamping the party's approach to such hot button issues as crime and welfare.
To defuse charges that the Democratic Party was profligate in extending welfare benefits to the undeserving at the expense of wage earners, Clinton as a presidential candidate - and later as president - tied welfare benefits to job retraining and job seeking.
This formula worked and allowed Clinton to reverse the political trends of the 1980s, after he was initially helped by the recession during the presidency of his predecessor George Herbert Walker Bush.
The Reagan or Clinton Democrats have become a coveted prize in this year's presidential elections.
The Obama campaign spent lavishly on negative advertising, portraying Mitt Romney as both rich and a friend of the rich, making headway in the polls. The Romney campaign tactic was to play defense until the day Romney becomes the official candidate and then tap into a campaign chest to return saturated fire when the American public has tuned into the election, after Labor Day.
At Romney headquarters in Boston they may have suddenly realized that they have been playing the hare to a souped-up Obama tortoise and they have to start going on the offensive.
Both in paid advertising as well as in the candidate's stump speeches, Romney is accusing the Obama administration of abandoning the bipartisan approach to welfare adopted during the Clinton administration and concerning itself exclusively with the undeserving poor.
Speaking in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, Romney promised to "end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good hard work."
Although Bill Clinton will be a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, it is no secret that tension still exists between the Clintonites and Obama partisans. Romney is attempting to drive a wedge between them and finally attempting to go on the offensive against Obama.