Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Obama Crazy Like A Fox?

Conservatives are rightly outraged that President Obama is choosing to govern not as the president of all of us but as the partisan enforcer of his liberal faction.

Didn't the liberals excoriate Bush for being just that (even when that noble and honorable man was never the divider they accused him of being)?

Never mind.  Liberals are the cultural hegemons; they get to set the rules and they get to break the rules.

But old war-horse Pat Buchanan has a warning.  He argues that the last two successful presidential dynasties featured a sharp denunciation of the other side.  First FDR:
"They hate me, and I welcome their hatred," said FDR in the 1936 campaign. He believed that if a slice of the electorate was incorrigibly hostile, one ought not appease or court them, but use them as a whipping boy to rally the majority. With FDR, the foil was Wall Street, the "money-changers in the temple of our civilization."
Then Richard Nixon.  His divisiveness set up Ronald Reagan:
With Nixon it was urban rioters and campus anarchists and their academic apologists and elite enablers, and the demonstrators who blocked troop trains and carried Viet Cong flags as they chanted: "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh! The NLF Is Going to Win!"
Pat is arguing that Obamian intransigence can work if he can get a majority on your side, and you have to agree that he has a point.

But let us remember that things had to come together for FDR and for Nixon/Reagan in special ways for his theory to work.

FDR may have won a resounding reelection in 1936 with his divisiveness, but his party lost 72 seats in the 1938 midterms.  It was World War II that made FDR into the father of his people and, incidentally, the great unifier.

Nixon so infuriated the opposition that they ran him out of office in his second term.  It was only the manifest incompetence of Carter and his stagflationary economic policy that got Republicans back in the game in 1980.

It maybe that President Obama is smarter than we think and that his display of partisan scorn is a master stroke.  But I'd say that partisan behavior is best for reelectioneering.  In 2014, with ObamaCare coming onstream and people finding just how much money and aggravation it is going to cost them, President Obama may find that his divisive politics unites a majority of the nation against him.

But maybe we'll get a war that will make President Obama into a national hero and elect Vice-President Biden as president.  Though that route didn't work too well for Bush.

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