This president is the root cause of the political anger that is out there.
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His best use of the “angry words spoken calmly” tactic was in his June 7, 2010 blunt defense of his administration’s lackadaisical response to the BP oil spill. Obama had convened a panel of experts to advise him, bragging endlessly of his energy secretary’s Nobel Prize. When his academic approach to the disaster was too much for even the liberal media, Obama explained that he brought in the experts to help him decide “whose ass to kick.” (Later that year, on October 31, Obama was again visibly angry, lashing back at Connecticut rally hecklers yelling about AIDS.)
It’s rare for Obama to appear angry and speak angrily at the same time. The best example was his December 7, 2010 press conference at the height of the congressional fight over extending the Bush-era tax rates. There, Obama apparently adopted the angle Sen. Bob Menendez took a week earlier. Menendez had said that negotiating with the Republicans was almost like negotiating with terrorists.
In his press conference an angry — even petulant — Obama lashed out at Republicans, saying “It’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed…The hostage was the American people.” He also kicked his liberal supporters, telling them to not be “sanctimonious” and reminding them that “this country was founded on compromise.”
Anger is not malum in se: it’s not an evil emotion. Anger is a strong passion or an emotion of displeasure. It is a natural response to all sorts of affronts, be they personal or political. In politics, anger stirs people to demonstrate, to speak out and to vote as they did last November. And among those who are not unhinged, it doesn’t breed violence.
That is why it is perfectly understandable that Professor Obama would want to create and control anger in the electorate. And that is also why we are left to wonder why, in cultivating political anger so assiduously, he uses words of violence such as “hostage takers.”
One clue can be found in Obama’s first autobiography, Dreams from My Father.
Most of us remember being influenced by books in our childhood. Whether you studied the Bible or pored over the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, at least one book sticks in your mind as having influenced your view of the world and your way of thinking.
Obama mentions only one book in Dreams from My Father, the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and he mentions it twice.
In one part of the book, Obama wrote of how he sought to shake off a “nightmare vision” of racial repression, and of reading Baldwin, Ellison, Hughes, Wright and DuBois to try to understand. But “Only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will…”
How did that influence the young Obama? We will never know, and it not of ultimate importance. What is important is how an American president manages the anger he creates.
Barack Obama is an accomplished rhetorician. His loss of control over the political climate last year has seemingly been recovered in the December lame duck session. It is up to him to heat or cool American politics. At this point, there is no reason to believe that the angry words, or the calm words stated angrily, will be fewer this year than last.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?