Once again, the president of the United States has managed to insult the people whom he is supposed to lead – the same people that he promised ad nauseam to unite under the twin banners of “hope” and “change” once he took office. As out-of-touch as ever with the mood and motivations of his fellow citizens, Obama carefully considered the change in the today’s political climate and concluded not only are voters in this election motivated by fear, their fear is irrational because they obviously don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand all of the great things that Democrats have done for them over the past nineteen months. If this message is Obama’s secret weapon to rescue his party from Election Day disaster, Republican candidates across the country can take the rest of the campaign off.
“People out there are still hurting very badly, and they are still scared,” Obama said at a Democratic fundraiser in Boston on Saturday. “And so part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared, and they have good reason to be.”
Those three sentences represent a classic example of the Democratic thought process, although most Democrats would not express such sentiments less than three weeks before an election. Democrats embrace fear. It’s the emotion that drives them as much as any other. They spent eight years demonizing practically every move George W. Bush made by whipping up fear. Domestic wiretaps, Gitmo, and the War on Terror itself were all examples of fascism on the rise in America, or so the Left claimed. When foreign leaders criticized our actions, that was proof enough that America was fast becoming a rogue state. In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned for “change.” Left unsaid, but well understood, was Obama’s belief that if we didn’t change our ways, America was doomed. If that’s not appealing to fear, what is?
The president also demonstrated once again his party’s deeply held belief that they – and they alone – are the only legitimate purveyors of the “facts and science and argument” that are part of the ongoing public policy debate. If you don’t like the government taking control over seventeen per cent of the economy through the healthcare bill, you’re obviously not aware of the “facts” that prove this is a good thing. If you oppose all of the draconian measures that Lisa Jackson’s EPA is putting into place that will have a brutal effect on American industry, then you are clearly scientifically illiterate. If you have a problem with the stimulus packages, then you’re clearly listening to the wrong arguments. There is no debate to be had in Obama’s world, because the word “debate” presupposes two legitimately held, defensible positions. The president clearly believes that he and his party know the absolute truth in every instance and anyone who denies those truths has to be acting irrationality, or out of fear and stupidity.
For all of his faults, George W. Bush never engaged in this kind of gamesmanship. He didn’t have a problem with going after his opponents or the opposition party, but he knew better than to insult the electorate. Instead, he worked to cajole voters, to convince them that he was working in their best interest without demeaning them by declaring that they were too stupid to understand his objectives. The difference between Bush and Obama is the difference between someone who has had to earn a living in the real world and someone whose career has been almost entirely built upon the public dole. Barack Obama can’t begin to imagine that he’s not much smarter than the rest of America because his entire life has been based on the proposition that he is. How in the world can we not realize that about Obama? This is the mindset that informed the president’s all-to-candid remarks.
While some of this administration’s opponents might actually be afraid, the more prevalent and relevant adjectives would be “concerned” and “worried.” Those adjectives, in turn, give way to a much more important emotion when it comes to this election: determination. Voters are turning away from Obama because they are justifiably concerned that the president has committed the government to do far more than it can realistically deliver. Voters are understandably worried that this administration is saddling their children and their children’s children with unconscionable, unsustainable debt. In this circumstance, is it any surprise that the electorate might vote for a change of course? Barack Obama would be well-advised to stop fixating on the fact that America is troubled by the actions of his administration, and to start contemplating why that is so. It may be difficult for the president to believe, but the average American just might be a lot smarter than he thinks.