Human Events Blog

Obama Downgrades the American Dream

The Associated Press reports those soaring “hope and change” phony-Greek-temple speeches from 2008 appear to have decayed into “hope you can afford a house,” as President Obama runs for re-election in downgraded America:

“If you’re willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you’ve got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement,” Obama said recently in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“That’s all most people want,” he said. “Folks don’t have unrealistic ambitions. They do believe that if they work hard they should be able to achieve that small measure of an American Dream.”

The goals can seem almost humdrum in comparison with some of the rhetoric from Obama’s 2008 White House campaign. But the message sounds made for the times, with the country emerging haltingly from recession, the income gap widening and unemployment stuck above 8 percent.

“He can’t run on change because he’s the incumbent, and he can’t paint too rosy a scenario because things aren’t that rosy,” said John Geer, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. “He’s got to come up with a theme that appeals to voters, especially middle-class voters, alleviates their fears and gives them reason to believe the future will be better.”

In a sense, this re-election strategy isn’t new.  Obama’s blanket excuse for his failures is that nobody could have done a better job than he did, given the horrible mess handed to him by You Know Who.  Those trillions of dollars in wasted spending were supposedly insurance against dim economic horrors even Obama could barely keep at bay.  Things would have been so much worse without the “stimulus” and its $5 million “green jobs!”

Implicit in this line of thought is the notion of decay.  The salad days are behind us, freedom has failed, and the best Americans can hope for is a little protection from entropy, provided by Barack Obama, with the invoice for his services sent to their children.  I guess we weren’t the ones we’ve been waiting for, after all.

Forget that his ObamaCare scheme is driving health care costs up, and his close allies in the educational establishment have been driving tuition prices up for decades.  Don’t dwell on what Democrats did to the housing market.  Try not to think of Michelle Obama and the kids flying across the Aspen snow on their sixteenth fabulous luxury vacation.  The important thing is that Obama meant well.  He wanted to help you little people realize your basic ambitions to educate your children, prepare for a subsistence-level retirement, and not die.  It’s all in line with one of the grand objectives of the Left, which is teaching the middle class to think of themselves as poor, and therefore dependent upon government.

Obama’s parlous vision of the American Dream is wholly inadequate for a nation in search of achievement and prosperity.  We are not meant to be a population of peasants, crossing our fingers and hoping that hard work might be just enough to cover the bare essentials.  We are not meant to think of those essentials as unattainable without government assistance.

Prosperity and growth demand both risk and effort.  Achievement means reaching for the stars.  Breakthroughs are made by people who are not content to settle for “good enough.”  The quest for opportunity is endless.  Americans should have no use for a spent politician telling them what ambitions are “realistic.”  Pursuing Obama’s downgraded vision of the American Dream is not what made us great.


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