The Great Divider — or 'Elections Have Consequences'

Pillars of Sand

The faux-Greek columns of 2008 have turned into pillars of sand, as the president’s Gallup ratings hit 43-2%, and his congressional majorities are on the verge of melting away — just two years after grand talk of a 50-year liberal regnum.*

Obama has turned manic in his efforts to save his sinking presidency. Every divisive tactic has been tried -- and yet so far found wanting. We have gone through, in creepy Alinskyite fashion, all the bogeymen, JournoList enemies -- Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Justice Roberts, the Tea Party, John Boehner, Karl Rove, and Ed Gillespie. We have witnessed the furor over the voters’ purported stupidity -- the dopey clingers who do not understand science or logic, but are driven by their “fears” to reject the hope and change salvation. Obama hammers that condescension home; everyone from Jimmy Carter to John Kerry in similar exasperation joins that chorus that we know not what we do.

Pots and Kettles

We have also witnessed the blatant hypocrisy of damning opponents for raising money from Wall Street and undisclosed donors. Has the president no shame? He introduced to American political life a number of fundraising firsts -- the first presidential candidate in modern history to refuse public financing of presidential general elections; the first to raise more than $1 billion; and the first Democrat to capture roughly 70% of Wall Street money, making him inter alia the biggest recipient of BP and Goldman Sachs money.

Obama introduced into recent campaign history the technique of using credit cards to hide the identity of the donors. He is so animated at Republican fundraising simply because "they" have out-Obamaed Obama, mastering the tricks and spins that proved so successful in his own ends-justify-the-means 2008 campaign. This was not supposed to happen -- this unfair turnabout is fair play. Remember when a liberal Democrat perverts the process of campaign financing then the entire "reform" effort collapses, inasmuch for Republicans electioneering is simply a free speech matter, a free-for-all in the arena issue. Sermonizing progressives alone can destroy the notion that there should be public checks on the financing of candidates (sort of like a conservative Congress and administration running up mega-deficits between 2002-6, and thus discrediting balanced-budgeting).

Rev. Wrightism

Now we are left with cheap racial polarization, and this from the great healer. Rudy Giuliani at the 2008 Republican convention posed the rhetorical question of what exactly is "community organizing." I think Obama is now answering that clearly enough.

So the president of all these United States now appeals to Mexican-American voters to get back at the polls at their “enemies." He lists groups that supposedly the Republicans do not want to vote at all, emphasizing in particular African-Americans and Hispanics. Yesterday, in a thinly disguised racial simile, he said that the Republicans would have to sit in the back seat of the car. When all that is collated with the Skip Gates mess, the Arizona lawsuit and cheap demagoguery of Arizonans supposedly going after children on their way to get ice cream, and Van Jones, the picture is clear enough.

We have come full circle. The carefully applied veneer of the 2008 campaign is slowly being stripped away under the surprise and pique that the American people are rejecting his effort to turn the U.S. into a European-like, 40-50% government-controlled economy. Before this is over, I think we will come to see that we are back to Obama 1.0, the confidant of Bill Ayers who lamented the failure of the Supreme Court to enact “redistributive change," the ACORN contingency lawyer, and the intimate of Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, and Rashid Khalidi. Those are old and perhaps tired tropes, but they become touchstones to explain the increasingly erratic Barack Obama lashing out that he came so close and yet is still so far.

Independents resent this, and a good number of Democrats will stay home in embarrassment as well. (Note Obama's petulance and his anger at liberals who supposedly want to take their ball home when they don't get their way, or the warning to "Latinos" that they will get what they deserve if they don't realize Obama is not a king, and don't punish their enemies by staying home.)

Think for a minute about the new them/us divides that our president has sought so hard to establish in his twenty-one months: the undeserving with $250,000 in annual income/the noble with less than that; people of color in need of social justice/not people of color who won’t dispense it; Republican conservatives who are greedy and selfish/Democratic liberals who are generous and caring; noble unions like the SEIU/ cutthroat employers who are stymieing the recovery; the advocacy of card check; exploited patients/limb-lopping doctors; duped homeowners/conniving banks who forced loans down their throat. And on and on. The only mystery remains how Obama was able to turn a polarizing career in Chicago, and the most partisan and ideological record in the U.S. Senate, for over a year of campaigning into a unity, across-the-aisle, reach out candidacy. I know, I know -- a media that proclaimed him a “god” and experienced Catullan-like physical sensations at the sound of his voice.