Politics & Policy

Obama, Liberal Demagogue

The president should take his own advice.

President Obama is excessively fond of defining “who we are as a nation” — which is interesting coming from someone whose campaign was based on bringing sweeping and profound changes to the country. He has resorted to this formulation when urging government-controlled, universal health care. He has used it to explain his (reasonable) decision not to release photos of the dead Osama bin Laden. He used it when supposedly rebutting the argument that we should “tear apart families” by deporting 12 million illegal aliens (a straw man since no leading American has proposed such a thing). He has invoked WWAAAN (“Who We Are as a Nation”) to justify vast new stimulus spending, and higher taxes on the rich. It’s pretty well guaranteed that when this president invokes WWAAAN, he has once again mounted his high horse, chin tilted up.

Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign meeting, the president was at it again, defining the upcoming election as a “fundamental debate about who we are as a nation.” Apparently, there are forces loose in the land who want “a small America, where we let our roads crumble, we let our schools fall apart, where we stand by while teachers are laid off and science labs are shut down, and kids are dropping out.”

The president doesn’t want a small America:

We don’t believe in a small America, where we meet our fiscal responsibilities by abdicating every other responsibility we have, and where we just divvy up the government as tax breaks for those who need them the least, where we abandon the commitment we’ve made to seniors though Medicare and Social Security, and we say to somebody looking for work, or a student who needs a college loan, or a middle-class family with a child who’s disabled, that “You’re on your own.” That’s not who we are.

Well, that’s not who anybody is. But what this cartoonish slur on Republicans and conservatives does reflect is what President Obama has become — a liberal demagogue.

The president is opposed to meeting our “fiscal responsibilities” by “abdicating every other responsibility we have.” But what is his plan to meet those responsibilities? The president doesn’t say. He never has. Not when he submitted his budget in February. Not when the Simpson-Bowles commission submitted its report. Not when he promised a deficit speech in April (but actually delivered a slashing political attack on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget). He acknowledges that the deficits the government has amassed “threaten our future.” And what is his response to this crisis — the most profound we have faced in generations? Another unserious call to make “the wealthiest Americans — including the biggest corporations” — pay their “fair share.”

This is complete drivel, and the president knows it. As the Wall Street Journal calculated, even if the IRS were to confiscate the wealth of every “millionaire and billionaire” in America, the yield would be $938 billion — only 85 percent of the budget deficit projected for the year 2012 alone. And of course, even Robin Hussein Hood himself is only suggesting increasing the tax rate for the “wealthy,” not confiscating everything (though admittedly he does define “rich” as including those who make $200,000).

The president is perfectly aware that reducing government spending is the principal way to escape national insolvency. But he will not say so because that would be courageous, statesmanlike, and honest. And that’s not, if you will, who he is.

No, he is the cheap manipulator of his audience’s emotions. “We don’t believe,” he told the Human Rights Campaign, “in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the president of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed.”

Watch the tape. There were a reported 6,000 people in that audience, and two, possibly three louts booed repeal of DADT (not the soldier). It was, as several of the candidates said later, an unfortunate and boorish moment. But to suggest that “the audience” booed the gay soldier is to slander the audience. And to assert that the candidates, by failing to condemn the hecklers, were somehow complicit is simply a smear tactic.

Whenever the president is in one of his preachy moods, which is often, he tells us that “who we are as a nation” is generous and tolerant and inclusive and fair. If only he would consider adopting some of those traits himself.

— Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2011 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Most Popular

White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
Elections

The Stolen-Election Narrative Needs to End

Happy Cyber Monday! On the menu today: The president speculates that the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI may be involved in the effort to steal the election from him; China hopes that you and the rest of the world forget how the pandemic started; and the 2020 edition of the annual NR Cyber Monday shopping ... Read More
Elections

The Stolen-Election Narrative Needs to End

Happy Cyber Monday! On the menu today: The president speculates that the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI may be involved in the effort to steal the election from him; China hopes that you and the rest of the world forget how the pandemic started; and the 2020 edition of the annual NR Cyber Monday shopping ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Could Have Reacted to the Election

It was predictable, and widely predicted, that Donald Trump would respond to an election loss, particularly one by as narrow a margin as this, with claims of fraud, efforts to delegitimize the outcome, and increasingly implausible attempts to find some lever to overturn it. Handling setbacks without grace or ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Could Have Reacted to the Election

It was predictable, and widely predicted, that Donald Trump would respond to an election loss, particularly one by as narrow a margin as this, with claims of fraud, efforts to delegitimize the outcome, and increasingly implausible attempts to find some lever to overturn it. Handling setbacks without grace or ... Read More