The professoriate won’t conceive of it: Barack Obama as a one-term president.
I went to one of those prestigious Eastern colleges that turn out the bureaucrats who populate President Obama’s administration so I have an unusual perspective on his supporters. I know these people very well, yet I can’t figure out their motivation.
As class secretary, I spend quite a bit of time gathering news for the Alumni Notes. When I call to chat, nearly all my former classmates are staunchly liberal, enraged at the Tea Party and alarmed at the possibility that President Obama may not be re-elected. This is kind of strange. Forty years ago, many of these people were football jocks or party animals who had very little concern for politics. Yet they have someone “matured” into staunch liberals. All this was summed up by one alumnus who wrote in the class notes a few years ago, “I continue to prosper while moving rapidly toward the angry left.”
One of the classmates I contacted this year is a Washington tort lawyer. He told me how he recently represented an entrepreneur who got a permit from the Department of Interior to develop a coal mine in Tennessee, spent $3 million developing infrastructure, and was then told by the bureaucrats that they had changed their mind — the mine was too close to a national forest.
“I won a $300 million settlement before a federal administrative judge, working on contingency,” he said. “But when it went up to the appeals level, the three-judge panel threw it out. They said the government can do anything it wants. It makes me sick.”
“Isn’t that the sort of thing the Tea Party is complaining about?” I asked.
“Tea Party!” He was astounded. “You’re not one of those Tea Party people, are you? They’re all crazy.”
Another class member is now a prominent professor at the University of Wisconsin. I asked him what it was like in Madison during last summer’s demonstrations and he said, “Heck, I was in them. We’ve got an absolutely insane governor in this state, Governor Walker. The man is crazy. He wants to gut the entire system. We were out there to stop him.”
In the next breath was telling me about his second home in the Caribbean. “We have a little compound down there,” he said. “We got hit by a hurricane ten years ago and I had to go down to rebuild the place. There are only about 100 people on the island so we all helped each other out.”
Somehow the incongruity of an affluent college professor with a hideaway home in the Caribbean who is also a member of the oppressed working masses who must demonstrate against an insane governor who is foolish enough to be upset because his state is going bankrupt did not register in his head.
I’ve had several conversations with liberals lately and they have one simple explanation for the President’s current troubles — “racism.” “What’s really going on is these Tea Party people can’t stand the idea of being ruled by a black man, don’t you think that’s it?” Nine percent unemployment, 20 million people out of work, a 27-year-high in unemployment among African-Americans — if George Bush were President, he would be being charged with racism.
So I’ve composed a letter to my liberal friends who are beginning to realize that Obama may be a one-term President. We’ve seen this before — Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush both tripped over the economy and failed to get re-elected. Nobody argued it was because Carter was a Southern Baptist or Bush was Skull-and-Bones. So why should it be hard to fathom that 43rd President might face the same experience?
“Dear Liberal Friend,
“We are facing what could become a very ugly election. At this point it seems quite possible that Barack Obama may be voted out office. The charge will immediately be raised that all this represents ‘racism’ and America has reverted to type. That they elected Obama as the first African-American over an Old White Male in 2008 was just an accident.
“I think it should be clear to you now, before the election really picks up steam, how wrong this perspective is and how harmful it will be to the country to make such a charge. If Tea Party Republicans succeed in electing a President, it won’t be about race. It will be about class. Specifically, it will have been a revolt of what might be called the lower reaches of the middle class against the upper-educated-going-on-aristocracy that you represent. Tea Party people are not rich. They are working people, small business owners, people who went to state schools and agricultural colleges where they learned to make a living rather than to collect law degrees and become “policymakers” telling other people what to do. Most of all they are people who are tired of having these “policymakers” interfering in their lives and telling them that they must therefore surrender larger and larger portions of their income so that the government can build a separate but equal economy.
“Rick Perry is prototypical. When asked to define the difference between himself and George Bush, Jr., he responded, ‘George Bush went to Yale, I went to Texas A&M.’ Conan O’Brien immediately picked up on this and announced, ‘So his main qualification is that he’s not as smart as George Bush.’ That completely misses the point and only shows how parochial the precincts and Manhattan and late night television can be. There are places in this country, believe it or not, where having a Yale degree is not an automatic sign of superior intelligence. It often suggests something more like snobbishness. ‘You can always tell a Harvard man but you can’t tell him much.’ Did you ever hear that expression?
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.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online