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Why Obama Will Not Move to the Center

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”  Patrick Henry

President Obama told students in India that the 2010 election “requires me to make some midcourse corrections and adjustments,” but Americans are wondering whether he really understands that voters rejected his policies in the early-November mid-term elections.  Instead of acknowledging that his policies are behind the defeat, the president blames “faulty communication,” as though the election massacre were just a public relations miscue.  

Even Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post scoffed at the president’s claim that the public “failed to grasp” the reasons for his actions because he didn’t explain “clearly enough.”  Other Democrats question the president’s “act of contrition” and acknowledge that the hard part will be to actually change direction and move to the center.  Many Democrats believe such changes are impossible because the president has alienated many of his closest political allies.  “He’s isolated himself from virtually every group that matters in American politics,” reported Politico.  Those close enough to receive White House invitations complain that those prestigious, and formerly personal, visits are now nothing more than campaign events where guests are kept behind the ropes or never even see the president.

As the saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies?  Even Congressional Democrats blame the president for the “shellacking” the party suffered in losing the House to the GOP.  They see a “tone deaf” and “distant” president who is “inattentive” and runs a “hapless political operation.”  Some Democrats get highly personal in describing their president’s “holier-than-thou” attitudes and posturing.  On November 8, Politico reported, “Many Democrats privately say they are skeptical that Obama is self-aware enough to make the sort of dramatic changes they feel are needed — in his relations with other Democrats or in his very approach to the job.”  This view is supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) refusal to step aside for new leadership and her public assertions of pride at their “historic achievements.”

In short, few people see a humbled Obama; instead, they see a man who “learned the wrong lessons.”

The Obama administration’s inability to cope with the grave implications of the Democrats’ “stinging defeat” at the ballot box was summed up by two who survived the onslaught, Reps. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Peter DeFazio of Oregon.  As reported by ABC’s “The Note,” they wrote: “Following the loss of our majority, we should fully understand the causes of our historic losses before we begin the process of rebuilding.  If we do not to learn from our losses we will remain in the minority until we do learn.”

More and more observers are concluding that the president is incapable of understanding the reasons for the public repudiation of his policies; further, they think he is unable to learn the lessons of 2010.

In an editorial closely scrutinizing President Obama’s trip to India, the Washington Times characterized the trip as an announcement of “the decline of the United States as an economic power.”  Mr. Obama, according to the Washington Times, “ignores the fact that it was American invention, innovation and competitive spirit that gave the country its economic pre-eminence in the first place.  Rather than lecturing Americans to get in the game, he would do better to reverse the anti-business political climate he has helped foster.”  Further, the Times wrote, the president “has never been comfortable with American global pre-eminence.”  The Times summarized their analysis:

“In place of liberty, [Mr. Obama] substitutes redistributionist notions of social justice.  Rather than a single American nation, he institutionalizes differences for political gain.  Instead of patriotism and pride, he promotes internationalism and guilt.  America’s decline is not the result of historical forces out of our control, but of condemning the history that brought the United States to its position of leadership.  America will only resurge when it recaptures the moral image of the country as a land of individualism, opportunity and patriotism.  That is an America Mr. Obama would rather do without.”

Ben Shapiro, in a Creator’s Syndicate article, describes recent photos of President Obama as alarming, “They depict a man boiling over with rage.  Have we ever witnessed a U.S. President so pugnacious, so incensed and inflamed by his own people?”  Answering his own question, Shapiro declares that we are not the president’s people; instead he sees Obama following his mother’s isolation.  His mother, according to Shapiro, “reinforced and celebrated their misfit status” and did not socialize with other Americans in Indonesia when Barack was a boy because “they are not my people.”  In addition to all of the non-American, “hate-America” people who had influence on the president during his formative years, Shapiro also notes the socialists and other “hate-America” mentors that the president chose as his friends and associates later in life.  America’s supposed decline, Shapiro believes, is for our president — in accordance with all he was taught by his hate-mongering pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright — a matter of the “chickens coming home to roost.”

Clearly, the election of 2010 was a rejection of Mr. Obama’s ideology and agenda — a matter of the president’s chickens coming home to roost.  The Obama presidency — with its anti-exceptionalism, anti-capitalist, anti-freedom emphases — is a wake-up call for America.  The president’s rhetoric may continue to resonate with those who want big-government solutions to all of their wants and needs, but if we have learned nothing else, we now know that our nation will survive and thrive only with a fully informed and actively engaged electorate who can tell the difference between truthful analyses of the challenges facing America today and mere demagoguery about “enemies” and divisive appeals to emotion.

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