Chalk it up to sheer accident. But anatomical obscenities to the side, Jesse Jackson did get one thing right — or at least partially right — when he muttered into that open microphone that Obama “is talking down to black people.” What Jackson left out is that Obama talks down to white people too. And to Hispanics, and to people of Asian ancestry, and if there’s anyone reading this of Eskimo descent, he’s talking down to you, too. Actually, in talking down to people, Obama does not discriminate. He talks down to Americans.
The problem with Obama goes way beyond the condescension he has displayed in such telling moments as the clinging-to-guns-and-religion comment, the prevarications over Rev. Wright, the ease with which he threw his own grandmother under the wheels as a “typical white woman,” or the way he expects us to faithfully follow his loop-the-loops on foreign policy. Clearly it’s not what Jackson had in mind, but the basic problem here is the “talking down” that goes on when any politician — black, white, Obama, Hillary, you-name-it — aims to change this country into an ever more collectivized state. In his campaign speeches, his comments, his asides, Obama is promising an America in which the main way to move up will not be individual enterprise, not “Yes, I will” — but to have the government (at someone else’s expense) hoist you up the ladder, with Obama looking down from the top, intoning “Yes we can.”
If that’s supposed to be a formula for hope, Obama is talking down to all of us. This stuff has a shelf life that will expire shortly after the inauguration. It’s been tried before, at great cost. Whatever the fine intentions, the brunt falls heaviest on those least privileged, least connected and least adept in gaming the system. The way the world really works is: The bigger the government’s say over who gets what, the more the dictate becomes not “Yes we can,” but “No, you can’t.”