Campaign Crawlers

Obama’s Marching Shoes

He is stumbling in them on the campaign trail.

By 9.29.11

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Sensitive to the criticism from some black leaders that he is not "black enough," Barack Obama attempted the thunderous, rolling rhetorical style of Jesse Jackson at a dinner for the Congressional Black Caucus last weekend. This just got him into more trouble with black leaders. "Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes," Obama practically yelled at the crowd. "Shake it off. Stop complainin', stop grumblin', stop cryin'," he said before slapping the lectern and striding angrily across the stage.

Black leaders weren't in the mood for a challenging sermon. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, among others, called Obama's remarks "curious," observed that he would never speak to the gay lobby that way, and professed perplexity at his "bedroom slippers" reference.

Always the class warrior, Obama sees plutocrats in bedroom slippers everywhere. It is ironic that his words keep tripping him up. His advertised strength, oratory, has become one of his biggest weaknesses. Even liberal Europeans, once awed by his pre-presidency speech in Berlin, now find his rhetoric tiresome. "Obama's lecture on the euro crisis… is overbearing, arrogant and absurd," ran an editorial in the German newspaper Bild. "The president's scolding is a pathetic attempt to distract attention from his own failures. How embarrassing."

Evidently Obama has not won back for America the "respect of the world." His ruinous economic policies have, however, increased the respect businessmen feel toward some parts of the world. It is becoming a recurring theme among some CEOs that it is easier to do business in Communist China than in Obama's America. Las Vegas businessman Steve Wynn said as much several months back, and now this week Coke CEO Muhtar Kent weighs in along similar lines: "In the West, we're forgetting what really worked 20 years ago. In China and other markets around the world, you see the kind of attention to detail about how business works and how business creates employment." 

Yet Obama just shrugs America's anti-business climate off and returns to his socialist themes and trivial, self-serving politics. He continues to encourage the myth that opposition to him is based not on his policies but on his person. While he tells the Congressional Black Caucus to stop whining, he reserves that right for himself. He likes to remind audiences of his victim status by saying that he won election as "Barack Hussein Obama."

Now creeping into his hackish remarks on the DNC fundraising trail is the notion that his "values" are superior to his opponents. Unable to run on a good economy, he has to come up with a new criterion for evaluating his presidency, and he thinks "values" will fit the bill. He even implies that the bad economy is a testament to those superior values. You see, he isn't about to let Americans get rich off dirty air and polluted rivers and a tax code that benefits "millionaires and billionaires." He wants it known that his stand against prosperity is principled.

The boos and clapping at GOP debates confirm him in his rectitude. "I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately?" Obama said at a DNC event in San Jose. "You've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.… It's true. You've got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don't have healthcare. And booing a service member in Iraq because they're gay."

Guilt by scattered clapping and booing has become an acceptable tactic in American politics, though the loud applause at Democratic events for the "choice" to kill unborn children never seems to get liberals in trouble.

Joe Biden, appearing very solemn, informed cultural arbiter Joy Behar that he considered the booing of the gay solider to be "reprehensible." Even the socially liberal Megyn Kelly at Fox News, if only out of professional annoyance, disputes this interpretation of the boo, noting that it was directed not at the soldier but at his biased question. This won't satisfy the Thought Police, as they consider any questioning of gay rights to be evidence of evil.

Obama is at his most sanctimonious when talking about the abolition of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He considers that definitive proof of his moral superiority to his opponents. Black groups are right to suspect that he views them more warily than gay groups. Obama prefers the newest and most glamorous causes to the party's staler ones. As Jesse Jackson said, when he was caught making a crude remark about candidate Obama off camera, Obama is "talking down to black people." 

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.