On July 17 in South Africa, Barack Obama gave a speech with some lines right out of a Donald Trump stemwinder.
If you didn’t pay close attention, you might have thought that he had become a born-again conservative. He defended free markets and entrepreneurial capitalism. He argued for the importance of national borders and lawful immigration. He argued for honesty and the rule of law. He even took a swipe at identity group politics.
Hailing the leadership of the late Nelson Mandela, Mr. Obama noted that “Madiba” could have governed bitterly given his many years in prison, but instead steered his country toward reconciliation. It was stirring stuff.
However, lurking beneath was the old Obama, peddling socialism, moral relativism and globalism. Here are some key parts of Mr. Obama’s speech, decoded:
“More and more peoples, having witnessed the horrors of totalitarianism, the repeated mass slaughters of the 20th century, began to embrace a new vision for humanity, a new idea, one based not only on the principle of national self-determination, but also on the principles of democracy and rule of law and civil rights and the inherent dignity of every single individual.”
Translation: Respect for human dignity arose spontaneously. Let’s not credit the United States for its leading role in defeating Nazism, nor Ronald Reagan for speeding the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Within the United States, within the European Union … populist movements... tapped the unease that was felt by many people who lived outside of the urban cores; fears that economic security was slipping away, that their social status and privileges were eroding, that their cultural identities were being threatened by outsiders, somebody that didn't look like them or sound like them or pray as they did.”
Translation: Back in America, these Deplorables, especially Trump voters, are racist white Christians who cling bitterly to their guns and Bibles. Such movements are “cynically funded by right-wing billionaires intent on reducing government constraints on their business interests.” He has no problem, of course, with billionaires who bankroll the Left, such as George Soros, Tom Steyer and Tim Gill.
“For almost all countries, progress is going to depend on an inclusive market-based system … that maintains some form of progressive taxation so that rich people are still rich but they're giving a little bit back to make sure that everybody else has something to pay for universal health care and retirement security.... I'll pay a little more in taxes. It's okay. I can afford it.”
Translation: In America, we will need to overturn the Trump tax cuts and increase the size of government. The super-wealthy won’t actually pay the tab; they have armies of tax lawyers. Soak-the-rich schemes always land squarely on the backs of the middle and working classes.
“It's not wrong to insist that national borders matter; whether you're a citizen or not is going to matter to a government, that laws need to be followed; that in the public realm newcomers should make an effort to adapt to the language and customs of their new home.”
Corrective: Great, except that President Obama’s attempted illegal amnesty was a magnet triggering more mass illegal migration at the southern border. His Democratic Party coalition includes groups like La Raza (“the race”), which opposes English as America’s official language while working against assimilation and election safeguards such as voter ID laws. Democrat-run cities are even dispensing with U.S. citizenship as a voter requirement.
“We have to actually believe in an objective reality. …If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it's going to be hard for us to cooperate.”
Corrective: Mr. Obama talks a good game, but he issued a reality-denying order forcing America’s Armed Forces to recruit men who think they’re women and women who think they’re men despite their birth sex and the DNA in every cell of their bodies.
“It is a truth that lies at the heart of every world religion – that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”
Does anyone think that the murderous Islamic militants who take the Koran at its word have anything but contempt for Jesus Christ’s famous admonition?
“I can't find common ground if somebody says climate change is just not happening, when almost all of the world's scientists tell us it is.”
Translation: Keep swallowing that 97 percent figure concocted from one severely flawed survey. Suppress any dissenting views.
And finally, “We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they're caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more.”
Corrective: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
Robert Knight is a Townhall contributor. His latest book is “A Strong Constitution: What Would America Look Like If We Followed the Law” (djkm.org).