When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, I, like so many other Americans, felt the same thrill run up my spine that Chris Matthews apparently felt as a chill in his leg. Matters of anatomy aside, I believe we both felt our nation had passed a monumental threshold in electing the first black president, and I was prouder than ever of my country.
Since that heady time I have had occasion to wonder who Barack Obama is, really. This is the man who was going to bring change to a polarized America. This is the man who had lived the
Yes, I had my doubts. During the debates he had this habit of looking down his nose at his audience. Well, that was probably the law school professor in him, accustomed to dealing with mush-headed first-year law students. Besides, I remembered that George W seemed to wear a smirk at the presidential debates. Far be it from me to judge a candidate by such tics or quirks.
Then there was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright business, followed by Michelle Obama’s statement that the election of her husband was the first time she had ever been proud of her country. Like most Americans, I had always been proud of the America that had given me so much.
Perhaps the most telling incident was Obama’s speech in San Francisco. No doubt unaware that his words were being recorded, he told his far-left faithful that in times of stress Pennsylvania common folk cling to their guns and faith, fearful of people who look different.
The condescension, not to mention the hypocrisy, of that statement, was brushed off by the fawning media as merely an attempt to rally his left-wing base. Still, average Americans could be excused for starting to wonder about Mr. Obama.
Those Americans naïve enough to believe that America represents a force for good in the family of nations were set straight when Obama opined that American “exceptionalism” was a delusion. He said that our faith in our uniqueness was no more valid than Britain’s or France’s or Spain’s similar belief. So much for Lincoln’s belief that our great experiment in democracy was the World’s Last Best Hope.
And this “we’re-no-better-than-you, maybe-worse” approach was evidenced when the fledgling President literally bowed to British royalty, Arab royalty, and the Emperor of Japan. This show of diffidence was preceded by apologetic speeches in Cairo and elsewhere. And of course there were his attempts to charm Iran into giving up its nuclear dreams, which earned only the contempt of that nation and hardball despots all over the world.
More recently, Obama diagnosed Americans as being hard wired not to think “clearly” when they are afraid. Otherwise, of course, they would be applauding Obamacare and the Democrats’ spending policies. Apparently he forgot that that same fear is what got him elected. Were Americans thinking clearly then?
Is Obama an elitist? Of course he is, notwithstanding last-minute efforts by his minions and New York Times columnists to insist that he is “one of us.” After all, it is argued, he had to pay off student loans before he could get serious about politics. He is an elitist because he believes that Americans do not know what is best for them. He and his cohorts on the left know what is best for all of us.
He is an elitist because he does not understand that the role of a leader in a democracy is to inspire and persuade its citizenry to follow his lead. Instead he seems to believe that a leader’s job is to shove his policies down the throat of his people. He seems not to understand that Americans are a cranky lot who don’t like to be talked down to. They are independent, individualistic, fair minded, compassionate, and generous, and they understand a lot more than politicians give them credit for.
According to the left, the electorate is a mob that is at heart racist, jingoistic, ignorant, short-sighted, and mean-spirited. Given time, says this approach, Americans will come to realize that Obamacare, trillion-dollar stimulus programs, and gutting the idea of American uniqueness are in the best interests of all.
To be sure, to judge from the TV commercials flooding the airwaves in the current election cycle, Republicans have also at times treated voters like buffoons, but their core message—cutting spending and taxes—have resonated with the voters.
The fact is that the American electorate is a repository of common sense that often defies and rejects the accepted wisdom of those who fancy themselves our guardians by virtue of their superior education and political genetics.
Isn’t the whole idea of a democracy rooted in the belief that the citizens are smart enough to decide what’s good for them and the nation? Granted that the Constitution established a republic and is designed to act as a barrier to runaway public emotions, but when you study it closely you realize that our Founders had a greater fear of the rulers and of the ruled.
It is fashionable today to describe the voters as “angry,” and that is no doubt true. But it is not an unreasoning anger. It is based on the Democrats’ attempt to yank the whole system to the left a la the European welfare state. When, despite polls that showed the public overwhelmingly against Obamacare, the Democrats rammed it through, of course people were ticked off. And then to be told they would learn to like it. It was too much.
In any event, as we stand on the threshold of a vast repudiation of not only Obama’s policies but of his whole approach to governing, it will be interesting to see if our President will have enough common sense and humility to listen to his bosses—us—and admit his errors. And, please, no garbage about working too hard to worry about public relations, or nonsense about Republican lies and foreign dollars fooling us all.
America’s voters know exactly what they are doing.