The Corner

Politics & Policy

President Obama Shrugs at Democrats’ Perpetual ‘Misfortune’

From the first Morning Jolt of Christmas week . . . 

President Obama in an interview with NPR, released this morning:

. . . the truth of the matter is is that where Democrats have had problems is we had the misfortune of doing poorly in 2010 when there was redistricting, and in many of the successive elections Democrats have actually voted at higher rates.

“The misfortune of doing poorly in 2010 . . . ,” like the party tripped over a shoelace, or the weather was bad. He cites 2012 to argue that it was mostly redistricting that is holding back the Democrats, an assertion that has been refuted. (If you use the previous lines, the GOP still holds the House that year.) Democrats during Obama’s presidency lost 11 governorships, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 69 House seats, 913 state legislative seats, and 30 state legislative chambers. He’s still incapable of acknowledging that he’s taken steps that have made his party less popular in many states and sections of the country.

This section of the interview is generating the most buzz . . . 

I do think that when you combine that demographic change with all the economic stresses that people have been going through because of the financial crisis, because of technology, because of globalization, the fact that wages and incomes have been flat-lining for some time, and that particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck, you combine those things and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear. Some of it justified but just misdirected. I think somebody like Mr. Trump is taking advantage of that. That’s what he’s exploiting during the course of his campaign.

Obama’s largely correct, but what’s fascinating is that Obama seems to see this as more random “misfortune” — i.e, he doesn’t seem to see anything he could or should have done about it, or do about it now.

Mr. President, you’ve been in the Oval Office for seven years now! Doesn’t it bother you that after all this time on your watch, Americans are so full of anger, frustration and fear? Doesn’t the fact that people are so receptive to Trump suggest that after all this time, your policies haven’t alleviated their problems and may in fact have exacerbated them?

When Obama feels like it, he’ll brag about the economy — “This is progress! Step by step, America is moving forward! Middle-class economics works!” — and then a little while later, he’ll offhandedly admit wages have “flat-lined.” (Remember, Hillary said she would give Obama an ‘A’ on the economy.)

The progressive Left used to claim it was acting on behalf of working people, those blue-collar men. Now it is primarily a cultural party that evaluates those working-class men by the color of their skin or whether they’re members of a union. Under Obama, the Democrats have become focused on the far-off threat of climate change, much more openly enthusiastic about an Australian-style national mandatory gun confiscation . . . it’s attuned to the concerns of activists angry at the police, college students angry that they have to pay back loans, angry at anybody who drives an SUV (except their own lawmakers) and anybody who has a private jet, except self-proclaimed environmentalist celebrities . . . 

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