Friday, October 5, 2012

The Question of the 47 Percent

Our liberal friends, in their apoplexy over the presidential debate Wednesday night, excoriated their champion Barack Obama for not raising the question of the 47 percent.  The 47 percent are the people that Mitt Romney told a supporter would be voting for Obama whatever the Romney campaign did.

Romney was expressing the platitude that, in any presidential election, there are only a few percent of the voters that are "persuadable."  Of course, our liberal friends interpreted Romney's remarks, as they have a right to do, in the worst possible light, as proving that he didn't care about the 47% that would never vote for him.

Romney has responded variously to this "gaffe", first of all explaining his position and lately saying he was "completely wrong."

It all proves the power of the mainstream media, that they can make a scandal out of nothing.  After all, the profession of a politician is learning how to divide the country up so that he gets 51 percent of the vote.  What could be controversial about that?

It is after the election that the winner calls for everyone to forget their divisions as Republicans and Democrats and all come together as Americans.

The winner doesn't call for unity out of virtue, but out of the practical necessity of trying to minimize opposition to his program in the interregnum between elections.  It is for this reason that politicians typically try to fashion bipartisan compromises when they craft legislation.  "Bipartisan compromise" is here a polite word for buying off the opposition with concessions so that they will support the overall legislation.

Barack Obama is an interesting case with regards to the 47 percent.  When he won the 2008 election, he got 53 percent of the vote to John McCain's 46 percent.  Just a hair away from 47 percent.  Let us ask about the that 46 percent.  What has Obama done to persuade them that we are all Americans and that he would govern in the interests of the entire 100 percent of America?

Not much.

The guy that sent the bust of Churchill, the colonialist, back to the Brits apparently did not think about Churchill's advice to victors: Magnanimity.  He's the guy that told a meeting of House Republicans: "remember, I won."  He's the guy that was having to buy the votes of Democrats to pass his unpopular Obamacare.  He's the guy that called out ExxonMobil by name in the presidential debate as an example of a corporation feasting on subsidies.  He's the guy doing recess appointments when Congress is still in session.  He's the guy planning to rule by executive order in his second term.

By the way, lefty thinkers like Juergen Habermas have a word to describe the domination of the economic and political system by business and the administrative state.  They call it "internal colonization.  They mean that, just as the European imperialists blew away the native political and cultural system in their 19th century colonies, so the administrative state (think ObamaCare) blows away and colonizes the face-to-face "lifeworld" in the modern First World.  It's an irony that Barack Obama, the anti-colonialist in foreign policy, is hell-bent on colonizing Americans with his administrative welfare state.

Look, politics ain't beanbag.  But Obama, who ran for president as a man who would heal our partisan and racial divisions, has governed as a partisan and a race warrior.  He has reversed the normal practice of playing the partisan to get elected and then working across party lines to fashion bipartisan compromises.

It became clear quite soon after Obama's election that many people in the 46 percent that voted against Obama felt they had targets on their chests. That's why Seattle's 29-year-old Keli Carendar came out of nowhere to organize a Tea Party in the deep blue city of Seattle.  That's why the Republicans gained 63 seats in the House of Representatives in 2010.  That's why people I know that aren't really politically active are energized this year to vote out President Obama.

How widespread is this feeling?  Well, let's just say that the first debate on Wednesday night scored 67 million TV viewers, 15 million more than the first debate in 2008.  That might mean something.  It might mean that voters are more energized about the 2012 election than they were about the 2008 election.

Now why would that be?

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