Human Events Blog

Silver spoon politics

Republicans “don’t seem to remember how America was built,” said the man who single-handedly added more to our national debt than his first 43 predecessors. 

President Obama was speaking at a community college – just about the only friendly venue he can find these days – in Ohio on Wednesday.  He was crafting a perfect alloy of mindless rhetoric out of his two big campaign themes:

1. We can’t have cops, teachers, firefighters, and accurate weather forecasts unless we rack up a trillion dollars in deficits every year, forever, and

2. Mitt Romney is rich.

Here’s what rang from the President’s mental forge: “Somebody gave me an education.  I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.  Michelle wasn’t.  But somebody gave us a chance, like these folks up here are looking for a chance.”

And they won’t have a “chance” unless we re-elect Barack Obama and push our national debt over $20 trillion as quickly as possible!  The current CBO forecast says the entire national economy will completely shut down under the weight of government debt in 2037.  Who’s going to have a “chance” then?

It’s a little daring for the president who just got finished telling the world, in a very loud voice, that he has absolutely no idea how the Supreme Court works to boast of his “education.”  However, we could be charitable and write that off to his blind lust for power, rather than blaming his teachers.  Or maybe he just wasn’t paying attention in class when they taught about judicial review.  He has previously asserted a remarkable level of narcolepsy when attending sermons.

Still, there are a lot of questions the perceptive voter should be asking about Obama’s rhetoric.  If we have to support his madcap spending binges to give anyone a “chance,” then how did anyone – including Obama himself – manage to succeed in previous eras of ignorant, brutal freedom?  What were federal and state budgets, and deficits, in adjusted dollars during the period when Obama was getting his chance?  What changed in 2009 to transform America from a land of can-do pioneers into helpless babes who can’t do anything right unless Uncle Sam guides them?

Things always get weird when “progressives” start telling us they’re actually upholding the grand old American traditions they can’t wait to jettison.  They reconcile these implosive self-refuting arguments by believing that history began when they were born, and began again when they took office.

Of course, the marquee quote from Obama’s latest journey through class warfare is the “silver spoon” crack, a dig at his 2012 presidential rival, Willard Mitt Richie Rich Thurston Howell Scrooge Romney, who raps under the stage name “Roof Dawg.”  Romney is so rich that his pampered wife was able to stay at home and raise their five children, while pursuing such Idle Rich activities as horseback riding, multiple sclerosis, and breast cancer. 

In contrast, Michelle Obama’s husband was making a paltry $162,000 per year when she was struggling to raise their two daughters, so she was forced to take a $316,000 job as a “community outreach” officer at a Chicago hospital, which vanished into thin air the moment she was finished with it.  Fortunately, the struggling couple was able to rely on their dear friend Tony Rezko to get them a $300,000 discount on their $1.65 million Chicago home, which really helped to make ends meet. 

I don’t know why the Obamas don’t invite old Tony to their new house, which is even nicer, to thank him for his generosity.  Oh, wait, this might have something to do with it.

Class warfare is a very old game, which a distressing number of Americans keep falling for.  It’s an outgrowth of the constant struggle to personalize decisions that should be made on the basis of impersonal logic.  Why would anyone’s childhood exposure to silver spoons have a direct bearing on the wisdom of their current policies?  It makes sense to consider the character of a candidate, to determine whether (well, let’s be frank: “how much”) you can trust their promises, but both rich and poor children can grow up to be liars.

The notion that certain politicians can “identify” with “middle class” voters better than others, because they have “walked in our shoes,” is absurd on its face.  None of these people are living blue-collar lifestyles.  Barack Obama lives like a French king, bathing his royal family in taxpayer-financed luxury.  He golfs more than any of his predecessors.  He heads to far-flung ports of call for fabulous vacations, dragging staffers and the Secret Service along at massive expense and inconvenience, where both his Republican and Democrat predecessors went to family homes or Camp David.  Michelle Obama has no more direct experience with the demands of daily life, in an average urban or suburban household, than Ann Romney.

Mitt Romney is the wealthiest of the 2012 GOP contenders, but none of the others were living hard-scrabble lives.  Even beyond the question of their net worth and annual income, most of them were current or former holders of high office: governors, senators, and House representatives. 

None of these people are living anything remotely resembling your life, if you are one of these coveted “middle class voters.”  And, as President Obama will eagerly tell you, their very different lifestyles don’t mean they’re lazy – they put a lot of work into their careers and campaigns.  Everyone from Romney and Obama, to Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain, has impressive achievements on their resumes, which required a combination of talent, effort, and sacrifice. 

But only some of those achievements are presented to us as admirable.  We’re supposed to hate the folks who can boast private sector business triumphs, even though they have direct bearing on our current affairs.  People with Romney or Cain’s business acumen are a smart choice to clean up the wreckage left by a “community organizer,” whose own Administration can’t figure out what he’s talking about when he attacks the oil industry.

The bottom line is that Obama is playing these “silver spoon politics” because he believes the class structure imposed by the Left on Americans will assemble a critical mass of sympathetic voters into the “middle class” he claims to originate from, while the details of Mitt Romney’s early life can be obscured enough to make those people think he is, and has always been, completely alien to their “class.”

That’s also why liberals have become fond of the term “working families” for the voters they have targeted.  As if a family that makes $250,000 per year running a small business, becoming a hated pack of “millionaires” under Democrat rhetoric, doesn’t work hard for its money!  But a politician who became a millionaire by writing books about himself, which no one bothered to read, claims he should be an honorary guest at the supper table of every “working family.” 

Furthermore, Obama is playing on the deep-seated belief that humble originals automatically confer virtue – the old romantic notion that strong character is poured from the crucible of poverty.  Combine this with the idea – promoted energetically by the Big Government Left – that public office is the morally superior path to personal success, and the delusion that a lifetime of public service cleanses Obama of self-interest, and you have a potent populist brew.  He’s a millionaire, but he’s the “right” kind of millionaire.  Statist politicians get rich by helping people, don’t you know!  And their desire for power and money is totally selfless.  Why, Obama even talks (and talks, and talks) about how he can’t wait to raise his own taxes!

You can look out your window to see the consequences of taking this childish twaddle seriously.  Class warfare is the promise that caring nurses from humble backgrounds will surround America’s deathbed and weep as it fades away.  We should be listening to what our candidates say they will do, and considering what they have achieved, instead of allowing them to lecture us about how little we can achieve without their help.