Obama’s campaign rhetoric has become increasingly uglier as the day of reckoning nears. The last couple of days have seen two pretty outrageous statements coming out of his mouth.
Outrageous statement Number 1:
He said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. [Enough with that metaphor, already. Geez, he’s beaten it to a bloody pulp. It was trite the first time out of his mouth. The thousandth time . . . oi.] Now that progress has been made, he said, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
How is this wrong? Let me start counting the ways.
For one, he is not Constitutionally empowered to dictate who “sits” where, and what powers Republican legislators or governors exercise. The Constitution determines the seating chart, and Obama has bupkus to say about that. If the Republicans win control of the House and or the Senate, and win additional governorships, they have every right to exercise their powers under the Constitution. That’s why we have a Constitution, and why we have elections.
For another, Obama implies that there is disjunction between “middle class families” on the one hand, and “Republicans” on the other. Really? Hardly. I doubt that even a weaker claim, that middle class families are preponderantly Democrat, would withstand rigorous scrutiny. This is, moreover, another example of Mr. Uniter’s divisiveness, and of playing the class warfare card.
For yet another, the “sit in back” metaphor is highly racially charged. Can you imagine the hue and cry that would result had any Republican suggested that Democrats generally–let alone Obama, specifically–“sit in the back”? Even if you ignore the racial angle, the metaphor implies that some Americans–and likely, the majority of those casting ballots in a week–are second class citizens. This relegation of some Americans to inferior status is disgusting, especially coming from an individual who wraps himself in the mantle of civil rights.
Random asides, in order to reduce blood pressure: When I hear of the “back of the bus” metaphor, I remember an old Sanford and Son episode from the early ’70s. I tried to find the script online, but couldn’t, but know that the dialog went something like this. Lamont asked Fred (Redd Foxx) what he’d done in the military, and Fred replied something like: “When I was in the Air Force, they wanted me to be a tail gunner, but I wasn’t gonna seat in the back of no airplane.” I also just found out that teenagers sometimes say “Rosa Parks” to call a seat. I think that’s something new.
After that needed comic relief, back to the decidedly unfunny president.
Outrageous statement Number 2:
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.
Such a post-racial uniter, isn’t he? Let’s see: a twofer. A blatant racial appeal and a bonus Nixonian categorization of some Americans as enemies. Plus an assertion that government is essentially a spoils system to reward friends and punish enemies.
Yes, politics ain’t beanbag, but there certain lines of decorum and rhetoric that should not be crossed. Obama didn’t just cross those lines with these remarks: he obliterated them. All the more outrageous coming from someone who portrayed himself, from his very first, as someone dedicated to transcending partisan politics and rancorous division. Remember this?:
Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America – there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
Rings pretty hollow now, doesn’t it? Was he lying for effect then, or has he just found these noble sentiment to be inconvenient today?