Americans do not like being lectured at, much less when those sermons are misdirected and lead to higher taxes, the creation of a preachy, Ivy-League overseeing class, and legions of federal employees whose prime directive is to vote in more politicians that give them more money with less accountability.
Are you disappointed with Barack Obama’s leadership so far, and worried about building an Islamic center near the site of the 9/11 attacks? If so, you are, well, captive to your fears: “At a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then, you know, fears can surface — suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. And so I think that plays a role in it.” We have here a reincarnated Massachusetts churchman railing about the sins of those south of the Mason-Dixon line, but this time without either a god or a noble cause.
Perhaps you are worried about record annual deficits, federalized take-overs of everything from health care to the auto industry, or the specter of 10% unemployment, and therefore might question the present policies. No problem, you simply do not “always think clearly” when “scared.” Note the following: “Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does [sic] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared.” (A confession: actually I am scared. The Obama deficits are unsustainable. I think health care will be ruined. The demonized job-hiring classes are in hiding. An entire generation of young people is relegated to second-class employment status. The world abroad is heating up in expectation that the U.S. is tired and through. And race relations under the divisive Obama have worsened.)
On the other hand, maybe you are a hard-core liberal. You voted for Obama because he promised an executive solution to “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the closure of Guantanamo, no more rendition and tribunals, a public mandated socialized medical program akin to Europe’s, withdrawal from Iraq — and instead he’s triangulating on all those issues and you’re worried. No problem. Preacher Obama says that you weren’t serious leftists in the first place: “If people now want to take their ball and go home that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place. If you’re serious, now’s exactly the time that people have to step up.”
But does Parson Obama follow his own protocols?
1) Obama apparently was so fearful of losing the 2008 election that he “lashed” out at the public financing of campaigns, becoming the first president since the law was enacted to renounce it — after saying he would not. In other words, he took his ball and went home.
2) Since neither science nor argument could prove that ObamaCare would lower health care prices while extending coverage, Obama apparently thought he could push the bill through on the false argument that it would save money while expanding entitlements — all on the premise that the country was “scared.”
3) You would think that America would say “thank you” to President Obama for running up nearly $3 trillion in additional debt that will require a new health care surcharge, a return to the Clinton income tax rates, increases in capital gains taxes, and more talk about lifting caps off income subject to payroll taxes and a possible VAT tax. Or maybe we should praise him for taking the unemployment rate to nearly 10%? Surely we are grateful that he gave us Van Jones and tried to turn NASA into a Muslim outreach organization.
4) When “suspicions and divisions can surface” in America, it becomes possible to scapegoat a) George Bush, b) Rush Limbaugh, c) the police, d) surgeons, e) the Chrysler creditors, f) Justice Roberts, g) Fox News, h) the people of Arizona, i) John Boehner, j) the Chamber of Commerce, k) opponents of the Ground Zero mosque, and l) Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie — suggesting that they all engage in some sort of nefarious activity harmful to the state.
When Ronald Reagan descended to a 35% approval rating, he went out and told jokes, made fun of himself, smiled — and praised America. When Bill Clinton hit 37%, he charmed the public, bit his lip, felt our pain, and drawled that the era of big government was over and welfare as we knew it was gone. When Barack Obama arrived at 43%, he began telling us that we, the disenchanted with him, are scared, frustrated, and simply not able to fathom his arguments or even basic science — to the end an angry northern parson thundering at us from his pulpit.
To reinforce just how out of his depth Obama is — while, ironically, assuming an air of privileged authority and ideological confidence — one need only listen to his assessment of the coming tax increases, made before a hardly-hostile, hand-picked MTV audience. The problem, Obama told the crowd, was that the Bush administration had put in place a tax plan that they “didn’t pay for” — the idea being that your money, which the Bush tax cuts gave back to all those who paid federal taxes, actually belongs to the government, and that by letting you keep your money, what the Bushies were doing was in effect stealing from the government what is rightly theirs, to disburse as they see fit.
That’s not how it’s supposed to work. And I suspect that even those kids at Obama’s “non-political” campaign event understand that, and are less interested these days in backing a politician simply because they dig the symbolism of his ascendancy.
So maybe there’s hope yet.