President Obama took part today in a panel discussion about poverty in America at Georgetown University. During the course of this conversation, Obama revealed the poverty in his character:
But part of it has also been — there’s always been a strain in American politics where you’ve got the middle class, and the question has been, who are you mad at, if you’re struggling; if you’re working, but you don’t seem to be getting ahead. And over the last 40 years, sadly, I think there’s been an effort to either make folks mad at folks at the top, or to be mad at folks at the bottom. And I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leaches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction.
And, look, it’s still being propagated. I mean, I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu — they will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. (Laughter.) They’re like, I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone — (laughter) — or whatever. And that becomes an entire narrative — right? — that gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress — which is much more typical — who’s raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills.
And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues and how people’s impressions of what it’s like to struggle in this economy looks like, and how budgets connect to that. And that’s a hard process because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.
It’s classic Obama: erecting strawmen. Obama has spent his entire presidency making “folks mad at folks at the top.” How many times has Obama talked about “corporate jets”, “you didn’t build that, someone else did” and “wealthy paying more of their share”. Indeed, Obama even made a point of saying during this conversation, “The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country.” And what does any of this have to do with the price of tea in China? Naturally, Obama wasn’t done there:
So when I say that, I’m not saying that because I dislike hedge fund managers or I think they’re evil. I’m saying that you’re paying a lower rate than a lot of folks who are making $300,000 a year. You pretty much have more than you’ll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use. There’s a fairness issue involved here.
Who the hell is Obama to decide which families have too much money or decide for them how they will use their money? He is our President, but not our boss. It is truly unsettling that such basic American notions as liberty and self-determination are such foreign concepts to Obama.
As for “making folks mad at folks at the bottom”, name me a Republican politician who has in the past 20 years said that “the poor are sponges, leaches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction.” Of course, no Obama strawman is complete without mentioning Fox News. It’s not like the rest of broadcast, print and digital media doesn’t see things his way. But for Obama, one Fox News is one fox too many.
President Obama isn’t interested in a broader conversation about poverty nor anything else. Does anybody honestly believe President Obama gives a damn what Boehner and McConnell think? The only thing Obama wants to hear from Boehner and McConnell is for them to say in unisom, “How high!” after he tells them to jump. President Obama is interested in three things. He is interested in hearing the sound of his own voice, he is interested in hearing others say how much they like hearing his voice and, most importantly, he is interested in being told that he is absolutely right about everything. President Obama has constructed a world in which he is absolutely right about everything and anyone who does not think he is absolutely right about everything has something wrong with them. Elizabeth Warren has found this out the hard way.
As I write this, there are 619 days left in the Obama presidency. This means we have 619 days of demagoguery to which we can look forward and it is only bound to get worse.
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