If you only listened to President Obama and the left-wing echo chamber this week, you would think American voters are pretty dumb. It’s actually been the primary message of the White House for months. It is exemplified by the president blaming his low approval ratings on bad communications or messaging, rather than bad policies.
But Obama really drove it home this month when he told supporters at fundraisers: “Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country’s scared.”
See, you would understand facts and science if you just weren’t so scared! Or as the German playwright Bertolt Brecht said: “Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”
This is at least an improvement from when President Obama as a candidate accused voters of naively “clinging to guns or religion.” According to Obama; Tea Partiers — conservative and independent — just don’t understand why deficit tax-and-spend policies are so great, and why Washington knows better.
This liberal meme of stupid voters is nothing new, except for the fact that the sitting president is unbelievably leading the charge. Liberals have been self-glorifying their intellectual superiority over middle and southern America for decades. The separation between Cambridge and Wasilla is more than geographic distance. Apparently, ivy-league water simply improves your ability to “think clearly.”
But it isn’t always that easy. President George W. Bush graduated from Yale and Harvard Business School, so his detractors had to point to his Texas roots and privileged upbringing as reasons why that intellectual heft wasn’t really earned. President Bush would often mangle a word or two when speaking without a teleprompter, and give the left the ammunition they needed for immediate dismissal. Yet, the reliance on a teleprompter makes Obama a gifted orator, of course.
This week leftist Salon writer Andrew Leonard at least dropped the subtlety. His article headlined: “The unbearable stupidity of American voters” made the case that taxes under President Obama have been lowered, and the economy has improved and therefore voters who believe the opposite is true are “the headwinds of ignorance.”
Leonard fails to point out that President Obama does not intend to cut taxes or even keep rates constant, despite modest temporary and limited breaks forced into the failed stimulus by Republicans, but that he has proposed over $3 trillion in new taxes over the next decade. Voters know that Obamacare contained a slew of new taxes on all Americans, the individual mandate not withstanding. Voters know that President Obama has no intention of keeping the Death Tax at zero percent as it stands now.
Voters know Obama would let all of the Bush tax cuts expire if he had his druthers, but he will instead fight to just raise income taxes on employers and people making over $200,000 a year. Voters know that Obama supports America’s high corporate tax rates, the second highest in the industrialized world, which puts our nation at huge competitive disadvantage globally.
Voters are also smart enough to see that unemployment averaging ten percent does not signal economic recovery, even if the recession has technically ended. Voters understand that increased debt, deficits and spending will only cause the economy to endlessly suffer.
The racist meme folds nicely into the stupid theme. Voters are stupid and racist. Just ask liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson who today once again tried to blame this year’s backlash against Washington on racism, arguing that it isn’t merely “coincidence” that voters strongly expressed disapproval for liberal policies at the same time a black president was in office. Robinson argues that America was just fine with a terrible federal government until a black president was elected, which would be a neat narrative, if not so absolutely void of “facts or science”.
President Obama and leftists such as Robinson and Leonard can confidently blame communications for their problems because the White House communications operation is indeed inept. Even with the departure of former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, they are still left with an amateur cast of characters. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs can barely let a day go by without looking down his nose at the American people and smugly declaring their ignorance. Even last week, State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley was sardonically tweeting Iran President Ahmadinejad in an incompetent attempt at diplomacy, trivializing the real and grave issues between our two nations.
American voters are scared for all the right reasons this year. They fear an out of control government working outside its constitutional limits to impose drastic mandates, worsen the economy and weaken American strength, defense and competitiveness. The simple message of cutting and freezing spending, stopping tax hikes, protecting America, repealing Obamacare and getting control of an out-of-control government defines their mandate this year. President Obama should not be so quick to dismiss these ideas, or those who support them, as stupid. The American people deserve more than insults and elitism from their president.
You can follow Rory Cooper on Twitter @rorycooper