Obama is Public Enemy #1 —to Himself
Janice Lacy,California Political Review
Despite President Obama’s obvious
allure in California and other bluish states,his political foes are popping out
of the woodwork nationwide as the political season gears up after Labor
Day,begging the question:Who is Obama’s worst enemy? Oddly,it really isn’t the
raging ire of the Tea Party. It isn’t the sequential,cool logic of Mitt Romney’s
59-point economic plan,or even Rick Perry’s rampant boasting about job creation.
And it certainly isn’t the prospect that Ron Paul will somehow gain speed and
run Obama out of the White House on a platform of abolishing the Transportation
Obama’s worst enemy is himself. It is Obama’s role in which he appears to be
most comfortable:that of a community organizer.
We watched him deliver his
Labor Day speech before auto workers in Detroit,at an event sponsored
by the AFL-CIO,where he confidently paced before union members,striking his
community organizer cadence. He empathized with them. He shared their burdens.
He told them he was fighting for their economic security. He exclaimed:“I’m not
scared of tough times because I know we’re going to be all marching together and
walking together and working together and rebuilding together.” At one point,he
even resurrected his old campaign slogan,referring to naysayers:“…for everybody
who keeps going around saying,‘No,we can’t – for everybody who can always find a
reason why we can’t rebuild America,I meet Americans every day who,in the face
of impossible odds they’ve got a different belief. They believe we can. You
believe we can.” In essence,he gave them,well…hope. He played his base for all
it was worth,evoking the “we/they” class warfare dynamic of union workers while
vilifying “the CEO in the corner office.” On TV at least,the union crowd seemed
to like his message.
But in a time of raging economic fear—replete with a 12 percent unemployment
rate in California (and our 9 percent unemployment nationally),a faltering stock
market with the worst September start in recent history,and talk of a double dip
recession that may extend two more miserable years—it is hard to believe that
resort to a “community organizer” to oversee this economic mess.
However rational a political argument may be made,people vote with their
emotions. Drew Westen’s book on this subject, The Political Brain,uses
research from the fields of psychology and political science to demonstrate the
dominance of emotion over reason as people vote. Mr. Westen states:“The
political brain is an emotional brain. It is not a dispassionate calculating
machine,objectively searching for the right facts,figures,and policies to make a
reasoned decision.” The voters who are the subjects of his research were
thinking “with their guts.” This emotional thinking applies to political
arguments,policies,and leaders:“We are not moved by leaders with whom we do not
feel an emotional resonance.”
Even though the unions clearly supported Obama with his Labor Day,“community
organizer” speech,the polls are undoubtedly showing an overwhelming lack of
emotional resonance between voters and Obama on economic issues and his
leadership generally. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll
released Tuesday (9/6),62 percent of Americans….