Speech reveals Obama’s fundamentally un-American outlook

I kept reading about Obama’s Rose Garden speech, but it wasn’t until this morning that I actually sat down and read the speech.  Aside from the obvious factual and ideological problems (not to mention how pedantic and vulgar it is in its expressions and ideas), what jumps out at me about the speech is the way in which this man reveals his alienation from America. The guy may have been born here but, when it comes to understanding the American social and economic model, it’s clear that he was raised in mid-19th century Europe.

A little background:  Mid-19th Century Europe was the setting against which Marx and Engels came up with the idea of modern socialism.  It wasn’t the first attempt at upending the existing power structure (for example, a little thing called the French Revolution had preceded it), but it was the most sustained intellectual statement about socialism, and therefore the most powerful, and the one with the most lasting consequences.

I won’t rehash socialism here, but I will say one thing about it:  it’s premised upon a complete lack of social mobility.  The Marxist theory is that workers of the world need to unite and overthrow the existing power structure because, absent that unity, they will never achieve either economic, political or social power.  Sure, an exceptionally talented person in France or Germany or England might squeak by, but on the whole, the class system is too rigid ever to free the poor.  In a class world, say the socialists, there is no way up and there is no way out.

Even back then, when Marx and Engels were disseminating their poisonous ideology, America was different.  Yes, we do have a class system, although it’s one defined by economic status (poor, working class, middle class, upper middle class, and rich), not by birth.  More than that, it’s fluid and always has been.  From the very earliest days, if you weren’t making it on the East Coast, you could head out West.  And if you weren’t making it as a printer, you could become a farmer (or vice versa).  For many young men, the military was a way up, as it still is today for men and women alike.

Our presidents, men such Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, demonstrated that you didn’t have to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth to ascend to the highest offices in the land.  Likewise, the immigrants who crowded into New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries lived to see their children move out to the suburbs and partake of the good life.

While it is certainly true that their have been poor people and immigrants who never made it in America, and whose children didn’t make it either, “making it” — that is, leaving poverty behind and becoming middle class or even rich — has always been a real possibility in America, not just a fairy tale.  To Obama, though, whose Leftist upbringing has alienated him from American values and reality, the possibility of “making it” without a Big Government fairy godmother is inconceivable.

In Obama’s speech, his first few paragraphs are the usual populist tripe.  I’m ignoring that here, because it’s embarrassing to read that generic, uninspiring, obvious stuff, and we all know that he’s lying when he says he has a bill to pass; when he says that Congress, which has received nothing from him, is dragging its feet; when he claims that his goal is to shrink inefficient government; and when he says that government needs to pay its bills.  I’ll also ignore the sleazy demagogic attacks against Boehner and the Republicans, something no decent President should do.

Instead, I’m honing in on a few paragraphs that explain a great deal about Obama’s mindset if you keep in mind the distinction between European rigidity (a rigidity that still exists in Europe) and American economic fluidity:

It was an approach that said we need to go through the budget line-by-line looking for waste, without shortchanging education and basic scientific research and road construction, because those things are essential to our future. And it was an approach that said we shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class; that for us to solve this problem, everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share.

Yes, the above is classic “class warfare” language:  the poor and the middle class are fighting for a slice of the pay that the “wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations” are stealing.  But the above dichotomy fails to consider that today’s poor kid can be tomorrow’s wealthiest American.  It also ignores the fact that, unlike traditional European wealth, which was family based, ownership in America’s corporations can be bought and sold by ordinary people.  My IRA and my mutual fund savings make me a member of dozens of American’s biggest corporations.  If they get screwed, so do I.  Obama’s statement is correct only if one moves to Europe, circa 1848.

The heart of Obama’s view of America is in this paragraph (emphasis mine):

So, today, I’m laying out a set of specific proposals to finish what we started this summer — proposals that live up to the principles I’ve talked about from the beginning. It’s a plan that reduces our debt by more than $4 trillion, and achieves these savings in a way that is fair — by asking everybody to do their part so that no one has to bear too much of the burden on their own.

Ignore for a moment that the rich and the corporations (or, as I call them, the employers and wealth creators) pay 40% of America’s taxes, while the bottom 50% of Americans (economically at the bottom, I mean) pay no taxes, something that one would think more than meets Obama’s requirement that “everybody . . . do their part.”  What’s more interesting to me is, again, the assumption that America’s socioeconomic status is immutable.  Obama has taken Jesus’ statement that “The poor you will always have with you,” and transmuted it into “You will always be poor.”  We (Big Government) need to rescue you from the rich because you will never be able to take advantage of opportunities to rise above your poverty.  Again, Europe, circa 1848.

The following are more examples of the same rigidity:

And that’s why this plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations –- tax breaks that small businesses and middle-class families don’t get. And if tax reform doesn’t get done, this plan asks the wealthiest Americans to go back to paying the same rates that they paid during the 1990s, before the Bush tax cuts.

I promise it’s not because anybody looks forward to the prospects of raising taxes or paying more taxes. I don’t. In fact, I’ve cut taxes for the middle class and for small businesses, and through the American Jobs Act, we’d cut taxes again to promote hiring and put more money into the pockets of people. But we can’t afford these special lower rates for the wealthy -– rates, by the way, that were meant to be temporary. Back when these first — these tax cuts, back in 2001, 2003, were being talked about, they were talked about temporary measures. We can’t afford them when we’re running these big deficits.

I talk over and over again about the Regressiveness of the so-called Progressives.  Their economic world view is Europe in the mid-19th century, their abortion view is America in the mid-2oth century, their race view is America in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Obama is a product of the Left, and the Left is fundamentally un-American in that it refuses to acknowledge what America is:  a country in which anyone has the opportunity to break free of poverty and race.

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  • Kirk Strong

    Here’s a study by the Heritage Foundation which backs up your points:
    Rounding the figures a bit, the study shows that approximately 80% of people in the bottom quintile of income distribution will have moved into a higher quintile within 10 or 15 years.
    The economic classes here in America are clearly highly fluid.  Leftists love to talk about the “problem” of poverty and ignore the fact that the vast majority of individuals who comprise “the poor” are actually already in transit out of poverty into the middle class and beyond.
    Other studies from the Heritage Foundation show that most Americans like it this way.  They don’t want the government to try to equalize incomes.  They would rather have the opportunity to move up the income scale, and the studies show that for the vast majority of us, this is eminently do-able.
    There is no need for our government to play Robin Hood, and we don’t want it.

  • Charles Martel

    Book, what an incredible irony that our civilization’s “progressives” are now the most reactionary people on earth.

    When one of our progressive friends sniffs the air and asks, “What’s that smell,” we can reply, paraphrasing something Ronald Reagan once said, “That’s the smell of the ash heap of history.”

  • bizcor

    Home Run Book! I am saving this to share with others. No time to expound tonight. Busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.

  • Gringo

    Speech reveals Obama’s fundamentally un-American outlook.
    Obama’s outlook reflects where he has spent his adult life: in  the leftist enclaves of  Hyde Park and of the Ivy League.  The first indication for me that Obama didn’t have a clue about what vast swaths of the country are like was his “bitter clingers” remark about rural Pennsylvania.
    The Heritage Foundation study will be good ammunition for us. (Is that an uncivil manner of expressing an opinion ?   – only if a wingnut says it. :))

  • Cheesestick

    “Book: and the Left is fundamentally un-American in that it refuses to acknowledge what America is:  a country in which anyone has the opportunity to break free of poverty and race.”

     I think it goes deeper than just refusing to acknowledge that these opportunities exist.  I think many of them are pretty actively trying to stamp out this aspect of American life.  I honestly believe they want race wars and poverty to persist.  I mean, they do tend to romanticize the whole “worker” thing as if it is some type of heaven on earth to be a factory worker (unionized of course).  And their endless fascination with trains and public housing and such…..  

    The area I live in here in Texas would be considered pretty much middle class and mid to upper middle class.  The amount of huge neighborhoods full of really nice and very large houses is something to behold.  You can drive miles & miles through the residential areas and just marvel at the size and beauty of the homes, never mind the endless places to shop and places to eat and what have you.  I think when leftests see this, it gives them heartburn.  They don’t want such luxuries afforded to average people with average incomes; and many without college degrees.  They want people living modestly in small, cramped spaces, like apartments the size of shoe boxes, with one TV per family and a pot of broth on the stove for dinner…maybe a little meat once a week or for special occasions.  They want people to walk to train stations in the snow every day to ride the govt.’s packed train to their dead-end factory job where they work their fingers to the bones and die at 45 years old.  People that are forced to live in these conditions are easier to control I suppose.  I just don’t understand why it is not more obvious to people that this is what they are cooking up for us.    

  • Michael Adams

    A very good piece.  Of course, it rather has to be brilliant , since it says so eloquently what so many of us have been thinking for the past decade or so.
    The beginning really a struck a chord with me, too, even if it is a lesser one.  I have to gird up my loins, or something, to prepare to wade into one of those Obama pieces. I know what he’s going to say. Of course I do, we all do. That’s half the problem, knowing that we’ll be hearing it again. I still get a little tiny bit embarrassed for him, being such a fool, and out there for all the world to see. No one should experience the humiliation that he has known, even if it is self-inflicted. As dangerous as he can be, I still feel a tiny bit of pity. It hurts.

  • Kirk Strong

    It is ironic that those on the left should call themselves “Progressives” when, as Book points out, their worldview is a holdover from the mid-nineteenth century.
    It’s useful to remember that they themselves chose the label “Progressive” when, as a result of their own machinations, the term “Liberal” became no longer tenable.  Now they are hard at work turning “Progressive” into a pejorative term, just as they have already turned “Stimulus” into a word which can no longer be used in polite company.  What will they call themselves next after “Progressive” can no longer be used?
    They are using up words at a prodigious rate — almost as fast as they are using up dollars.  Soon we will have no words left with any positive meaning — and no money left with any positive worth.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left recognizes such opportunities for the masses to move, but like the British aristocrats of old, this was a BAD THING to them. Not a good thing. Thus they will put their foot down and stomp on it: hence Obama. Too many people continue to believe to this day that the Leftist alliance are composed of politicians and Democrats that simply made a mistake: they weren’t mistakes.

  • Oldflyer

    Well done Book.

    The maddening thing about Obama and  other so-called Progressives, is that they build their message of lies in layers like a cake made, iced over with sweet words such as  fairness, and flavored with false  empathy.  It works against so many people because the construct appears tasty, while knowledge and  thought are required before a listener can understand that the words are empty.  If our children were exposed during their education to an objective study of governmental systems, they would come to adulthood understanding that throughout  history, governments based on centralized control have tended to morph into  self-perpetuating tyranny.  They would understand that as any organization matures, its primary focus shifts toward self preservation, self aggrandizement, and corruption.  But, most of our young citizens reach voting age with no such understanding, because the educational system fails them.  They are not taught how, and why, the  Founders feared, and sought to protect against the natural proclivity for organizations, i.e. government,  to grow in size and reach.  They do not understand that the only defense for individual freedom and liberty is to ruthlessly limit the power and scope of the governmental organization;  just as Statists ruthlessly attempt to grow government  in both size and scope.   Meanwhile the purveyors of seductive rhetoric never back off. We are told that legitimate rights are collective rights.  Success is only measured in class terms.  Individualism is greedy and selfish.  Centralization is the answer to every problem.

    Despite the best efforts of government, and the education system, the bulk of Americans still appreciate the basic tenets that forged our society.  Therefore, the Statists shrill cries are met with subdued enthusiasm or outright resistance.  There is still reason to hope.

    As you highlight,  Obama’s speeches become particularly noxious because  in addition to his Statist  core, his resentment of America appears genuine. Therefore his rhetoric is a double barreled assault on American values.

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