Friday, September 28, 2012
Obama, the great divider
by Jeff Jacoby
"I'm the first one to confess that the spirit that I brought to Washington, that I wanted to see instituted, where we weren't constantly in a political slugfest . I haven't fully accomplished that. Haven't even come close in some cases.. My biggest disappointment is that we haven't changed the tone in Washington as much as I would have liked." -- President Barack Obama on "60 Minutes," Sunday, Sept. 23
IT WAS THE COMMITMENT at the core of Barack Obama's candidacy, the most important promise he made to the American people: He would unify a divided nation. Again and again, he vowed to repair the political breach. To end the bitter polarization of American life, to do away with "slash-and-burn" politics that "tear us apart instead of bringing us together" -- above all else, that was the hope and the change he offered.
At every milestone in Obama's journey to the White House -- from the keynote address in Boston that put him on the national radar screen to his inaugural address in 2009 -- he held himself out as a healer. Skeptics might note that partisanship and rancor were as old as American democracy itself, but Obama insisted that would change when he was president. The toxic style of politics wasn't inescapable. Give me the highest office in the land, he assured a rapturous crowd in Ohio two days before the 2008 election, and "we can end it once and for all."
Millions of voters believed him. They took to heart his vow to transfigure American public life. They looked forward to the uplifting leadership he promised. What they got instead was the most polarizing and divisive presidency in modern times. The civility and goodwill that were to be Obama's touchstone? "I haven't fully accomplished that," he concedes. "Haven't even come close."
As the 2012 campaign heads into the home stretch, a story in Politico notes that "Obama and his top campaign aides have engaged far more frequently in character attacks and personal insults than the Romney campaign." The man who won the presidency by decrying "partisanship and pettiness and immaturity" now seeks reelection by deploying slurs and aspersions with abandon: A key aide suggests that Mitt Romney's financial filings may amount to a felony. The vice president claims that Republicans want to put voters "back in chains." An Obama campaign video likens Romney to "a vampire."
Of course there is nothing new about ruthlessness in politics. For all of Obama's talk about not wanting "to pit red America against blue America," it was always foreseeable that his reelection campaign would eventually become a merciless march to the sea.
Yet Obama's brutal negativity can't simply be brushed aside as the inevitable surrender of idealism to realism. It's true that presidents have often lamented the shrillness of American politics. Abraham Lincoln sought to "bind up the nation's wounds." George W. Bush originally ran for office as "a uniter, not a divider." Even Richard Nixon said his "great objective" would be "to bring the American people together." But only Obama made national unity and bipartisan harmony the justification for his candidacy.
It never happened. The 44th president has been nothing like the healer-in-chief he promised to be. Early on he took the low road, inflaming resentments, demonizing his critics, and, yes, pitting red Americans against blue Americans. His defenders argue that he had no choice -- that in the face of unremitting Republican opposition, going negative was his only option.
But all presidents face partisan opposition. Democrats vehemently fought Bush; Republicans fiercely battled Bill Clinton. Obama never conditioned "hope and change" on GOP support for his agenda. His condition was that he be elected.
"2008's candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012's candidate of fear," New York Magazine's John Heilemann wrote last spring. "For anyone still starry-eyed about Obama, the months ahead will provide a bracing revelation about what he truly is: not a savior, not a saint, not a man above the fray, but a brass-knuckled, pipe-hitting, red-in-tooth-and-claw brawler determined to do what is necessary to stay in power."
The president says now that his "biggest disappointment" is that he hasn't been able to elevate the tone of American politics. For countless voters, a far bigger disappointment may be that he never tried.
Liberals Can't Break 200-Year Racism Habit
Democrats spent the first century of this country's existence refusing to treat black people like human beings, and the second refusing to treat them like adults.
After fighting the Civil War to continue enslaving black people and then subjecting newly freed black Americans to vicious, humiliating Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan violence, Democrats set about frantically rewriting their own ugly history.
Step 1: Switch "Democrat" to "Southerner";
Step 2: Switch "Southerner" to "conservative Democrat";
Step 3: Switch "conservative Democrat" to "conservative."
Contrary to liberal folklore, the Democratic segregationists were not all Southern -- and they were certainly not conservative. They were dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrats on all the litmus-test issues of their day.
All but one remained liberal Democrats until the day they died. That's the only one you've ever heard of: Strom Thurmond.
As soon as abortion is relegated to the same trash heap of history as slavery has been, liberals will be rewriting history to make Democrats the pro-lifers and Republicans the pro-choicers. That's precisely what they've done with the history of race in America.
In addition to lying in the history books, liberals lied on their personal resumes. Suddenly, every liberal remembered being beaten up by a 300-pound Southern sheriff during the civil rights movement.
Among the ones who have been caught falsely gassing about their civil rights heroism are Bob Beckel, Carl Bernstein and Joseph Ellis. (Some days, it seems as if there are more liberals pretending to have been Freedom Riders than pretending to be Cherokees!)
In the 1950s and '60s, Democrats were running segregationists for vice president, slapping Orval Faubus on the back and praising George Wallace voters for their "integrity." (That was Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in The New York Times.)
But the moment the real civil rights struggle was over, liberals decided to become black America's most self-important defenders.
Of course, once we got the Democrats to stop discriminating against blacks, there was no one else doing it. So liberals developed a rich fantasy life in which they played Atticus Finch and some poor white cop from Brooklyn would be designated Lester Maddox (racist Democrat, endorsed by Jimmy Carter).
White journalists who didn't know any actual black people (other than Grady the maid) became junior G-men searching for racists under every bed, requiring a steady stream of deeply pompous editorials.
You will never see anything so brave as a liberal fighting nonexistent enemies.
Liberals drove the entire country crazy with their endless battles against imaginary racists, to make up for their having been AWOL during the real fight over civil rights.
Throughout this period, every black-on-white crime became a re-enactment of "To Kill a Mockingbird"; every cop who shot a black perp was Bull Connor; and every alleged racist incident was instantly presumed true, no matter how preposterous.
When it turned out the hate crime was a hoax, the cop was being mugged and the black kid was guilty, the whole story would just quietly disappear from the news, as if the media were reading a bedtime story to a child, whispering the ending and tiptoeing out of the room.
Then came the O.J. verdict.
Millions of Americans watched as a mostly black jury acquitted an obviously guilty black celebrity and saw black America cheer the verdict. The sight of black law students whooping and applauding O.J.'s acquittal had the same emotional impact as watching Palestinians celebrate the 9/11 attack.
Overnight, the white guilt bank -- once thought "too big to fail" -- was shut down. Henceforth, instead of producing stuttering embarrassment, liberal moral intimidation on race produced only eye-rolling. With that, America became a much healthier country, especially for black people.
Without nonsense claims of racist "code words" to stop them, Republicans were finally able to implement long-sought reforms on crime and welfare. The unqualified success of Rudy Giuliani's crime policies in New York saved tens of thousands of black lives. Welfare reform was such a stunning success that Bill Clinton claimed credit for it.
Blacks had won the final civil rights battle: The right to be treated like adults. Even liberals ceased their oohing and ahhing over every little thing any black person did.
But the post-O.J. paradise came to a crashing halt with the appearance of Barack Obama.
Obama allowed liberals to return to accusing Americans of being racists and get the most liberal president America has ever seen at the same time.
The only firm evidence that there are any actual racists left in America is the fact that so many whites voted for Obama as some sort of racial penance.
More white people voted for Obama in 2008 than had voted for any Democratic presidential candidate in nearly 40 years.
They must have felt guilty about something. Not harboring any racist impulses, I was free to vote Republican.
Now that Obama is up for re-election, liberals are back to their old tricks. A nation with more child pornographers than racists -- a nation that's already elected a (half) black president once -- is suddenly said to be bristling with racists again!
My new book, out this week, "Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama," reminds us that nothing good has ever come of Americans capitulating to liberals' racial bullying, especially not for black people. Never. Don't make the same mistake again, America.
Obama Versus Obama: The image versus the facts
Much puzzling behavior by Barack Obama falls into place when we go behind the image that he projects ("Obama 1") to the factual reality of the man's whole life and thrust ("Obama 2").
Obama himself is well aware of the nature and importance of his image. In his own words, "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." An 18th century philosopher put the matter bluntly: "When I speak, I put on a mask. When I act, I am forced to take it off."
Many of Barack Obama's actions as President of the United States reflect neither political expediency nor an attempt to promote the best interests of the American people. Take, for example, his bowing low from the waist to foreign leaders.
No President of the United States had ever done that before. It gained Obama nothing with the voters, nor was there any reason to think that he expected it to. Why then did he do it?
What did it accomplish? It brought the United States down a peg, in the eyes of the world, something that he has sought to do in many other ways.
These bows were perfectly consistent with his view of a maldistribution of power and prestige internationally, just as his domestic agenda reflects a felt need for a redistribution of wealth and power within American society.
It is not just the United States, but the Western world in general, including Israel, that needs to be brought down a peg, from the standpoint of the ideology prevalent among the people with whom Barack Obama has allied himself consistently for decades.
Against that background, it is not at all puzzling that President Obama has clamped down on offshore oil drilling by Americans in the Gulf of Mexico, but has actually encouraged and subsidized offshore oil drilling by Brazil with our tax dollars.
Nor is it surprising that he imposes draconian restrictions on industrial activities in the United States, in the name of fighting "global warming," while accepting the fact that Third World nations that are beginning to industrialize will generate far more pollution than any restrictions in America can possibly offset.
That is another example of international redistribution -- and payback for perceived past oppressions or exploitation of the West against the non-West. So is replacing pro-Western governments in the Middle East with Islamic extremist governments.
Some people may have gotten focused on the issue of Barack Obama's birth certificate because so much of what he has done seems foreign to American ideals, traditions and interests. But birth tells us nothing about loyalty. One-time American Communist leader Earl Browder was descended from the Pilgrims.
Those who have questioned whether Barack Obama is really a citizen of the United States have missed the larger question: Whether he considers himself a citizen of the world. Think about this remarkable statement by Obama during the 2008 campaign: "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that every other country is going to say, 'OK.'"
Are Americans supposed to let foreigners tell them how to live their lives? The implied answer is clearly "Yes!" When President Obama went to the United Nations for authority to take military action and ignored the Congress of the United States, that was all consistent with his vision of the way the world should be.
How has Obama gotten away with so many things that are foreign to American beliefs and traditions? Partly it is because of a quiescent media, sharing many of his ideological views and/or focused on the symbolism of his being "the first black President." But part of his success must be credited -- if that is the word -- to his own rhetorical talents and his ability to project an image that many people accept and welcome.
The role of a confidence man is not to convince skeptics, but to help the gullible believe what they want to believe. Most of what Barack Obama says sounds very persuasive if you don't know the facts -- and often sounds like sheer nonsense if you do. But he is not trying to convince skeptics, nor worried about looking ridiculous to informed people who won't vote for him anyway.
This is a source of much polarization between those who see and accept Obama 1 and those who see through that facade to Obama 2.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:37 AM