By Sal Bommarito
Last night, President Obama declared war on everyone except radical Islamists. His animosity directed at so many Americans was clearly on display as he continued to polarize America. History will not be kind to this president as he escalates his reputation as the great divider.
The president attacked many of the same groups in his speech that he has during his tenure in office. Conservatives and Republicans are, of course, his favorite target. The bad feelings that exist between the left and the right in our government are, to a great extent, based upon Obama’s attitude towards the opposition party from the moment he first became president.
Democrats controlled the Executive and Legislative Branch (the latter with a filibuster-proof majority) in 2008 after Obama was elected. From the get-go, the president made no effort to work with those on the other side of the aisle creating great resentment that exists to this day. During the next six years under Obama’s leadership, Democrats have been reduced to observers in Congress, the latest blow occurring in the 2014 mid-term elections. Effectively, the president has no power to govern other than through executive orders, which will be addressed later.
Obama’s demonization of the most successful people in America, commonly referred to as the 1%ers, has been an abomination. It is puzzling from a logical perspective, yet perfectly clear from a political/progressive perspective why the president feels it is so important to disenfranchise affluent citizens.
Effectively, the president has abandoned an important segment of our population. He believes he is a modern day Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. He fails to recognize that the rich in the Robin Hood metaphor stole from their subordinates while the affluent today have earned their wealth legally.
Alternatively, Obama should be trying to close the income gap by raising opportunities for all Americans, not by absconding from one group and paying it to another. He should be encouraging all those without jobs to find one and ensuring that jobs be made available to all able-bodied individuals. Those that have fallen behind can earn their way to a better life rather than living off of the munificence of government.
Businesses and banks are another favorite target of the administration. Why would the president attack two of the most important engines for economic growth and creation of new jobs? The country needs higher paying jobs to mitigate the inequality that has evolved over the years. Businesses create jobs. And, banks enable businesses to grow by providing capital. Excessive regulation (as opposed to reasonable regulation) will be counter-productive in the long run to an improved economy.
Obama wants to help the middle class. He is focusing on this group because it is the largest in the country. Suggesting new entitlements at the expense of the affluent is a strategy that will likely be popular among Americans. But many Americans do not want a larger, more intrusive government, or more taxes that give it too much power over the people. In fact, many people appreciate that government has been wasteful ultimately resulting in the need to increase taxes regularly.
Middle class individuals want an opportunity to increase their lot, but every time they earn more, they are taxed at a higher rate. In effect, workers are earning more money but not putting it all into their pockets; Uncle Sam must get his cut. At some point, liberals will come to the realization that waste, tax cheating and gaming the system illegally are the real villains, not those who have made a comfortable life for themselves by working hard.
Obama is, rightly so, becoming seriously concerned about his legacy. Frankly, it is too late for him because he has not been able to shed his combative attitude going into his last two years. The only chance the president has to earn a respectable place in history is to demand comity and effectively lead the nation domestically and internationally.
There are issues that naturally unite Americans including homeland security and the threat of radical Islam. If Obama would have showcased a more aggressive attitude towards the real enemies of America, he could have gained a lot of support from all corners. John McCain (R-AZ) has enumerated this on many occasions.
The U.S. needs more jobs and jobs that pay higher salaries. This is a winning objective for any president. Yet, Obama chose to give more money away for a variety of uses that the Republican-controlled Congress will eschew. He missed a wonderful opportunity to unite the nation with a jobs program.
The ability to work with the opposition sets some presidents apart from others. Many former presidents had to deal with hostile political environments. Obama has done less than most to foster a good working environment in Washington.
In fact, he has also declared war on the Constitution by circumventing the responsibility of Congress to enact laws. Executive orders are more rightly applicable to existing law; they should not replace the enactment of laws by legislators. This tactic has made Obama’s job of bringing the country together more difficult.
To make matters worse, he began the new legislative term by threatening vetoes on every new initiative by the new Congress. Does this man understand the meaning of leadership and compromise? I don’t think so.
In the meantime, Congress will pass laws and the president will veto them out of spite. The only salvation for congressional Democrats is to work with the majority to overcome the vetoes of a very confused and unproductive president.