The Contours to Come in 2012

by Victor Davis Hanson

Polls show that Obama has lost almost all moderate Republicans and a majority of independents, and is losing conservative Democrats. In response, he gives a strange pep-rally talk — part inspiration, part rebuke — to the Black Caucus, delivered in a style as if the audience were not upscale but impoverished circa 1960, and he were a messianic civil-rights leader battling “them.” Earlier he lamented to members of the National Council of La Raza that he could not, by fiat, grant their open borders wishes (only do nearly as much, by stopping enforcement of federal immigration laws unless the violators are felons). In remarks aimed at the gay constituency, he rebuked the Republican field on the grounds that, at a debate, the crowd, not an individual, supposedly jeered a gay solder and those on the podium supposedly bore in silence that supposedly collective boo. There is no need to cite the ongoing presidential slurs against the wealthy, in which those making over $200,000 have mysteriously become lumped in with corporate-jet owners.

For the next year, we are going to see a lot of this them/us rhetoric, as each group is revved up to get out the vote in record numbers, thereby cobbling together a bare majority. Targeting enemies of the people, who otherwise apparently would be doing great without such oppression, is Richard Nixon’s strategy in reverse, but will be characterized by even greater polarization. The new venom, I guess, still beats the now tired “Bush’s fault,” or running on 9.1 percent unemployment, $5 trillion in new debt, a sluggish GDP, high gas and food prices, record annual deficits, credit downrating, a moribund housing market, nearly 50 million on food stamps, Solyndra, and Fast and Furious.

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