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By Rob Schwarzwalder, a Senior Contributor, The Stream, September 11, 2018
There’s almost a sort of sad comedy in listening to Barack Obama of late.
For example, he’s accused President Trump of being divisive. This from the man who bathed the White House in the “LGBT Rainbow” colors the night of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision.
But there’s something else Mr. Obama said the other day that was a bit head-snapping.
Donald Trump, said Mr. Obama, is “just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past but it’s also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.”
In a sense, this latest attack on people who supported Mr. Trump is nothing new for Mr. Obama. He offered the same critique in 2008 in a speech in Pennsylvania. He said of people having a tough time in the economy, “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
How the Left Sees We, the People
Let’s simplify all of this: If you are fed-up with being talked down to by elitists like Mr. Obama, you’re bitter, racist, and full of resentment. You can therefore be manipulated into voting for conservatives and “outsiders.” You poor, pathetic, weak people.
Mr. Obama didn’t speak that last line. He didn’t need to.
Then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, sensing a political opportunity, said of Mr. Obama’s 2008 comments, “I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America. His remarks are elitist and out of touch.”
Liberal Stereotyping of Conservatives
What if a Republican said these kinds of things about liberals, there would be a media storm of historic proportion. Imagine if President George W. Bush had said something like this:
“Many Democrats, people who work in dying unions and others who live in urban areas, vote the way they do because they don’t know better. They’re easily prey for liberal politicians who make big promises. Politicians who know those willing to buy their appeals are too ignorant, dependent, and bitter to know better.”
No doubt his Democratic critics would have exploded with rage. The media would have trotted-out out the usual “deep” commentators to talk about the fat-cat, racist, and insensitive Republican Party.
In both parties, there are outliers, people full of resentment and racism. But the overwhelming majority of Americans in both parties reject such things.
Opportunities for Conservatives
The reason Donald Trump appealed to so many people is that they were fed up. They were tired of the lying, ineptitude, and arrogance of people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They wanted change and were willing to take a risk on a larger-than-life, four times bankrupted, reality show real estate developer on his third marriage.
Interestingly, more than 40 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters had college degrees. And the current President won 62 percent of the white vote – the exact same percentage as Mitt Romney four years earlier.
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Former President Obama and Mrs. Clinton represent a current that runs deep among “Progressives,” both historically and in the present day. To disagree with them shows one of three things: Ignorance, stupidity, or bad faith. Disagreement cannot be principled, since to differ with Progressivism/liberalism/neo-socialism, etc. is to depart from obvious truth.
“I am sorry for those that disagree with me,” Woodrow Wilson, the first major Democratic Progressive, is quoted as saying, “because I know that they are wrong.”
Comical as it is, this attitude remains entrenched in his party and its leaders.
This, by the way, gives the GOP a great opportunity. Republicans should make their arguments clearly and repeatedly to those worn out by the policies and attitudes of the Left.
These people aren’t deplorable or bitter. They’re Americans. They deserve to be treated as such.
Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.