Though we may be tempted to laugh at the silliness of the Democrats’ recent accusation that the Republican Party is waging a “war on women,” mainstream Americans need to brace themselves: This is but a mild example of the kind of tactic we can expect from the Obama forces during the 2012 campaign, and the left uses tactics like that because they work. As skyrocketing gas prices combined with unemployment and underemployment to trap American workers in an economic vice-grip, this administration cannot afford to campaign on its record, so out comes the community organizer playbook. For voters who think political campaigns should actually discuss issues, things are going to get even more bizarre in a hurry.
The particular tactic in play here is simple: Convince one group that the liberal politician will make things right by defending that poor, helpless group. Think “transfer payments with a little vengeance thrown in,” and you will have the essence of the tactic. This tactic is political gamesmanship at its worst, and it works.
For years, the radical left has pitted old against young, black against white, employees against employers, customers against banks, women against men, and illegal aliens against the rest of us. The tactic benefits the left in the short-term by creating voting blocs that are easy to mobilize, and in the long-term by eroding the cultural norms of personal responsibility and respect for the rights of others, as those norms impede the growth of government.
The tactic comes out of classical Marxist theory in which workers are seen as victims of the owners of the means of production. Leftist revolutionaries pitted workers against owners to bring about ? at least in theory ? a classless society. But now that Marxist reality has overshadowed Marxist rhetoric with mass murder and economic chaos under leftist regimes, the tactic has degenerated these days into little more than a campaign gimmick that keeps liberal politicians in positions of power and wealth. But it does that very well, and so it remains at the top of the liberal playbook.