By Alan Caruba
Ronald Reagan made a lot of history as President, but when he stood before the Brandenburg Gate not far from the Berlin Wall that divided the city and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”, he rocked the foundations of the Soviet empire on June 12, 1987. By 1989, the wall was opened and, in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed.
Now thousands of Americans are saying “Mr. Obama, tear down these barricades,” They have become a symbol of the dictatorial style that has emerged over the first term of the President and now demonstrate it for everyone to see in the first year of his second term.
What is also on display are the cracks in the foundation of Obama’s presidency and administration. The first occurred in the 2010 midterm elections that returned power to the Republican Party in the House of Representatives. In the Senate these days, even the Democrats are beginning to break ranks with the White House, resisting on many fronts, “crossing the aisle” rather than vote the party line and risk reelection.
Obama has left them little choice with his oft-repeated threat that he will not negotiate with Republicans, choosing instead to use his office to garner airtime and press coverage to disparage them as terrorists, anarchists, hostage-takers, and kidnappers, to name just of few examples of his petulant, idiotic name-calling.
The job of a President is to negotiate. Every one of his predecessors in the office negotiated fulltime, seven days a week, either with his own party with the opposing one.
Obama and those who created the image of Obama have gone blind and deaf. They’ve been inside the White House bubble so long that forgot how ordinary people react when the President orders that national monuments and parks are shut down and barricades get between veterans and visitors.
When the administration opened up the National Mall to a rally by illegal aliens, the contempt for all the rest of us—natural born and naturalized citizens—could not have been more clear. The selective malevolence of the access that was denied makes a lasting impression, even on the “low information” voters.
The President’s approval rating dropped to 37% on October 9th. Congress scores in the single digits. There is a lot of unhappiness among the voters and all the campaign-style speeches and photo-ops are not going to turn this around.
Watching the media trim and adjust its sails is interesting as well. When Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services ran into a buzz saw on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show”, it sent a signal to other liberal media personalities that it was okay to finally question what the administration was doing, particularly as regards Obamacare. The liberal lemmings may not want to jump off the cliff with the White House.
There’s one thing that has gone largely unnoticed during the “shutdown.” It takes weeks and months for the federal government to order anything. It is a huge bureaucracy. So why were all those printed signs available for the “shutdown” unless the government keeps such things in a big warehouse somewhere?
The answer could be that Obama and his political advisors have been planning the shutdown and, in particular, the plan for the President to beat up the Republicans. He has begun now to gear up the Democrat Party campaign for the November 2014 midterm elections. We are witnessing a deliberate effort to berate non-stop the Republican Party in general and the Tea Party movement in particular. The press conference in which the President held forth for over an hour is an example, but significantly, his approval rates dropped to a new low of 37%.
Harry Truman did this in 1948 when he ran for election after filling out the term of Franklin Roosevelt who had died soon after his fourth reelection. Truman disparaged a “do nothing” Congress, controlled by the Republican Party, even though its actual record showed that it had passed a number of laws he favored. It was pure demagoguery and, combined with a tireless campaign of whistle-stop speeches, secured Truman election when everyone assumed Thomas Dewey would be the winner.
It could be that Obama has taken a lesson from that election, but he is not running to be reelected. He is running to gain full control over Congress of the kind that allowed him to ram through the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—in 2009. There were huge protests then and there will be more now.
A rally of truckers will seek to close down the capital this weekend in protest of Obamacare and other administration policies. Another rally will follow soon after by veterans. Indeed, I suspect 2014 is going to be remembered for a score of rallies that reflect the anger that has finally boiled up into action. As more and more Americans discover that their healthcare insurance premiums have doubled and tripled, they are going to blame one man—Barack Hussein Obama.
Obama has completely misread the character of the American people, perhaps because he lacks any character of his own.
© Alan Caruba, 2013