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2012 ElectionEconomyOpinionPhilosophyPolitics

The President’s One-Hundred Seventy Year Old Ideas

As Obama gets closer to receiving his walking papers, by consent of the governed, he has apparently decided to become transparent, but not about his policies and their failures.  He appears transparent about his loathing, showing sensitivity to his critics. His rhetoric today does not compare to the inspirational tone four years ago.  Instead, he seems nasty, sarcastic, dismissive and aloof.

Like in the old black & white TV days on the show “What’s My Line,” the real Barack Obama is standing up.

Maybe this is an indication he is resigned to failing in November.  If that is true, then it’s reasonable to assume he has decided to go for broke since he’ll likely lose anyway.

The trouble is the more candid he becomes, the more he reveals attitudes that run contrary to those held by most Americans. By this neo-transparency, he reveals his contempt for mainstream sentiment, illustrating how alienated he is from the majority of people, an odd campaign tactic.

This is surprisingly unintelligent coming from the smartest man in the room. 

To provide an example, consider what he said recently about the Republican Convention and those participating: “It was better suited to the last century.  It was a rerun. We’d seen it before. You might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV. If you didn’t DVR it, let me recap it for you. Everything is bad, it’s Obama’s fault, and Gov. Romney is the only one who knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Although that last bit of transparency is largely true, I had journalism professors who would have given Obama an “F” for this snarky analysis.  Aside from the clearly sarcastic and juvenile tenor wrapped up in these remarks, the startling fact is the man really does not get it, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say he pretends not to get it so as to pander to his shrinking base.  After all let’s remember Obama’s chief mentor, Marxist Saul Alinsky, recommended ridicule as the best weapon, urging all community organizers to aim below the belt for maximum impact.

Well, Mr. Obama, a lot of people are a little nostalgic about the black & white days.  We think about those grainy images from the first moon landing in 1969, and get inspired by the “I Have a Dream” speech. We still like old John Wayne westerns. And we continue to enjoy and appreciate Andy Griffith while we recall a time when a sarcastic, prideful mean streak was rarely seen and certainly not celebrated.  People like reruns of things that remind them of better times, especially in bad times.  We like being reminded of common courtesy, lower unemployment and higher standards.

For Obama and Friends, those things are so old hat and corny, they deserve to be ridiculed.
If the Republicans had only provided nostalgic escapism they would have deserved criticism.  There is much in our past no one wants to revisit: neither should we ignore history’s lessons.  But that is not what Romney and the Republicans delivered two weeks ago, nor were they mean or sarcastic or condemning.  What they did was remind us of what made the nation great,  instead of directing the choir of condemnation, Mr. Obama’s preference.

Most of us would much rather be reminded of American greatness centered on liberty and justice for all, with a healthy dose of love for your fellow man, than be guilt tripped and encouraged to envy and condemn others.  This is the grim gruel Obama serves up with increasing frequency.

Somebody should tell him it’s no way to have a fireside chat. (Then again, why bother?  He already knows everything he needs to know.)

Romney and Ryan and the Republicans did more than remind us of what makes us great, they called on us to take personal responsibility, something Obama will never do.

He is too busy encouraging Americans to blame shift and attack each other, deriving his inspiration from even older, discredited sources, like Karl Marx, a drunk hailing from two centuries back.

Image: Karl Marx, 1875; courtesy of John Mayall; public domain

Allan Erickson

Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.

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