President Obama, avatar of hope and change, is back in real nasty mode, suggesting not too subtly that conservative Republican lawmakers are un-American.
Take a look at this excerpt of his remarks he made this afternoon to the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic group sympathetic to his message. The bolding of the last paragraph from this White House transcript is mine.
But we can’t just close our deficits by cutting spending . . .
And that’s why people from both parties have said that the best way to take on our deficit is with a balanced approach –- one where the wealthiest Americans and big corporations pay their fair share, too. (Applause.) Before we stop funding energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up special tax breaks that other folks don’t get. (Applause.) Before we ask college students to pay more to go to college, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes that are lower in terms of rates than their secretaries. Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare — (applause) — before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks that we don’t need and weren’t even asking for. (Applause.)
So, NCLR, that’s at the heart of this debate. Are we a nation that asks only the middle class and the poor to bear the burden? After they’ve seen their jobs disappear and their incomes decline over a decade? Are we a people who break the promises we’ve made to seniors, or the disabled, and leave them to fend for themselves?
That’s not who we are. We are better than that. We’re a people who look out for one another. We’re a people who believe in shared sacrifice, because we know that we rise or fall as one nation. We’re a people who will do whatever it takes to make sure our children have the same chances and the same opportunities that our parents gave us — not just the same chances, better chances, than our parents gave us. That’s the American way.
The frightening thing here is not that Obama has gone into a political mode similar to that which we saw just before Election Day 2010, when he resorted to calling Republicans enemies, suggested without proof that foreign money was funding the Chamber of Commerce’s political work, said Republicans don’t want black people to vote and that they had a master plan to keep the economy from improving in order to seize power, and so on.
The frightening thing is that he believes this, in the idea that people with different philosophies than his are evil and un-American. It’s wrong when anyone – liberal or conservative – takes such a position. It’s scary when the president of all of us does.
And how comforted are you by this?
Believe me — believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. (Laughter.) I promise you. Not just on immigration reform.
Now, he followed up emphatically with “That’s not how our democracy functions,” and was clearly trying to make the point that he needs Republicans to get things done, not that he wants to govern by fiat. But I’ve never heard a president joke around in such a careless manner. It contains an unappealing dose of egotism and disrespect for the system.
Obama so easily slips into a deeply partisan, even contemptuous mode of speaking. It’s bad politics – it will bring many infuriated people to the polls without inspiring supporters.
What is inspires is hope and change. But having failed to achieve either, the slogan is cast aside.