In 1980, when President Reagan asked Americans, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” it was still possible to campaign on a theme as simple as the job performance of the other guy. But now, 32 years later, the campaign hinges on a much more fundamental split among the voting population.
Romney appeals to voters who are dissatisfied with the last four years. Obama appeals to voters who are dissatisfied with America.
This basic gap was obscured in the 2008 campaign by the window trappings of inspiration. Among all the plastic pillars and stolen quotes from poets who stole them from sermons, it was harder to see that the underlying theme of the campaign was dissatisfaction with America. But in 2012, Obama can no longer run as a reformer or an optimist.
The coalition that he committed to last year is a coalition of those who are unhappy with America, not in the last four years, but in the last two-hundred years. Its core is composed of groups that fear democracy and distrust the will of the people. There is no optimism here, but a deeply rooted pessimism about human nature and the country as a whole. It is the Democratic Party’s coalition against democracy.
After 2010, the numbers were crunched, and it was clear that Obama and the Democrats could not win a mainstream campaign. Instead, they targeted narrow groups, stirred up conflicts over issues aimed at that group, whether it was union pensions, racism or birth control. There was no more pretense of a national election, only a frenzied rush to polarize as many groups as possible and join them together into an acrimonious coalition, not so much for anything, as against Republicans.
There isn’t any inspiration here. Just paranoia over everything from gay marriage to abortion to racial profiling to illegal immigration. A dozen illegal benefits being handed out with the explicit threat that they will be lost if Romney wins. A dozen mini-civil wars being stirred up to divide Americans and set them at each other’s throats for the benefit of the Obama campaign.
From Occupy Wall Street to Wisconsin, from Trayvon Martin to Chick-fil-A, the goal of these manufactured conflicts has been to divide and conquer the electorate by emphasizing group rights over individual economic welfare.
Obama can’t win on the economy. He can’t win on foreign policy. He can’t win on any aspect of his administration. All he can do is stir up violence and then promise to heal the country in his second term while winking to all the representatives of the grievance groups. It’s not a new game, but the Democratic Party has never played it quite this baldly in a national election. And if it succeeds, then national politics will have finally been reduced to the level of a Chicago election.
We were expected to believe that the typical Obama voter in 2008 was hoping for a better country, but in 2012 there is no more hope, only hate and fear. The typical Obama voter is not acting as an American, but as a representative of an entitled group looking to secure and expand those entitlements at the expense and the detriment of the country at large.
To vote for Obama after years of grotesque economic mismanagement that has no precedent in history, that exceeds the worst actions of Andrew Jackson or Ulysses S. Grant, is not the instinct of an American, but a selfish greedy looter scrambling to grab a few dinner rolls off the tray while the ship is going down. There is no policy justification for voting for a man with the worst economic and foreign policy record in the country’s history. There is no American justification for voting for him. Only the UnAmerican motivation of carving up a dying country into group fiefdoms privileging identity politics over the common good.
This is an UnAmerican campaign. It is an Anti-American campaign. It is a campaign by those who hate and fear what America was and who resent having to care about anyone outside their own group. Its group jingoism, its dog whistles and special privileges are repulsive and cynical, treating the people of a great nation like a warren of rats eager to sell each other out for a prize from the Cracker Jack box of identity politics entitlements.
There is not a single Obama voter anywhere in the land who believes that another four years of him will make this country better. Not a single one from coast to coast. No, what they believe is that he will make the country a worse place for those people that they hate. That he will have four more years to sink their ideas deeper in the earth, regardless of how many families go hungry and how many fathers kill themselves because they can no longer take care of their families. What they believe is that Obama will grant their group more special privileges and the rest of the country can go to hell.
In his DNC keynote address in 2004, Obama said, “There is no Black America or White America or Latino America or Asian America, there is just the United States of America.” And now he has completely disavowed it. He isn’t campaigning to lead the United States of America, instead he is running for the presidency of a dozen little Americas, Trayvon Martin America, Abortion America, Illegal Alien America, Sharia America, Gay Marriage America, Starbucks America and any others you can think of. And if he can collect enough of these little Americas together, then he may get the privilege of running the United States of America into the ground for another four years.
Obama has never been the President of the United States of America. He has been the president of Washington, D.C., of Wall Street and of Solyndra. He has been the President of Green America and of Chicago. He has been the President of Warren Buffett, George Soros, Bill Gates, Penny Pritzker and James Crown. He is the President of George Clooney, Harvey Weinstein and Anne Hathaway. And now, facing disaster, he still isn’t running to be President of a country, but of a dozen little countries with money from freshly bailed out Green America and Wall Street, not to mention Hollywood.
The Obama campaign is not accidentally divisive. It did not stumble into divisiveness. It is not even divisive as a byproduct of its real aims. Divisiveness is its aim. Divisiveness is the only way that a divisive administration can hold on to power. The anger and the violence are not an accident, they are the whole point. Set one group against another, feed the hate, massage the grievances and very soon there is no longer a nation but a handful of quarreling groups being roped into a mutual alliance to reelect their lord protector whose appeal is that of the outsider becoming the insider.