Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama's Latest Class Envy Message - A Loser

This Blog was started almost one year ago - born out of disgust with passage, by 327 Congress Representatives, of an unconstitutional act of selective retribution against the AIG folks who were collecting on their contractural retenton bonuses.

The President is now engaged on a futile populist tear against the banks - trying to divert attention from his huge Massachusetts loss by reverting to the tired old class warfare message. Underlying it all - make no doubt about it - he resents the private sector and is therefore readily angered by the 'fat cats' who run it. Last week he started on a new rant - droning on and on in Obama-speak - 'fighting for the middle class' - railing about the banks' "excessive" profits and the "unconscionable" bonuses being paid to the their executives.

In the hundreds of speeches and TV interviews that he has conducted in his first year in office, Obama has beaten unmercifully on the private sector - he can't help himself - it's baked into his DNA. It is virtually certain that his State of Union speech will be replete with references to the "special interests".- his code word for his list of public enemies. This term has now become a standard reference in the Washington dictionary of terms. Everyone in DC has their own list but Obama's is as long as the list of private entities that have ANY impact on private citizens everyday lives - banks, health insurance companies, doctors, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, energy companies, steel companies, tire manufacturers, Fox News and, no surprise - the mother of all public enemies - The Chamber of Commerce.

He also has drummed hard on his message of bolstering support for the "middle class". He even formed a Middle Class Task Force. Not one person outside of his administration understands or cares what that is -other than yet another politician's boondoggle - a clumsy attempt to send a message to his base that he cares about little people.

Beating on a populist message that divides Americans into classes is utter folly. Here's why:

1) Most middle class folks (Obama's term for his anyone who isn't rich) aren’t looking for a handout. Redistribution of wealth is not a basic middle class value. The keystone of Scott Brown's win was his willingness to take the President on in opposing the multi-trillion dollar Obamacare handout. The middle class voters rejected ObamaCare.

2) Most folks in middle America understand the fundamentals of capitalism. While they abhor the concept of Wall Street executives collecting huge bonuses - particularly when it appears that they are cashing in on a windfall, they are not all small minded people. If they don't own stock in Goldman or Morgan Stanley, the rational ones are not going to get whipped up about excessive bonuses when they are no worse off as a result of some 'fat cat' being overcompensated. In other words, the President's attempt to divide America - main street vs. Wall Street - is not going to sell to rational independent voters.

3) Tens of millions of middle class Americans spend a good part of their waking hours in the offices and factories of Obama's public enemies list. While there are certainly some disgruntled folks in the ranks, the large majority of them love what they do, respect their bosses and don't take kindly to the President of all Americans vilifying their company - including the managers for whom they work. You can be certain that they don't think of their companies as 'special interests'. Obama assumes that the 'workers' in these Companies are unified in their belief that their Company is an evil enterprise somehow exploiting them. He could not be more wrong. These folks would probably cut him some slack for taking an occasional political shot at their place of work - but now after one year of his rantings - his credibility as a leader is shot. There is no better example to make this point than the President's awkward joke about Scott Brown's truck. Boy - talk about being tone deaf - that comment was an unmitigated act of idiocy and yet - Obama remains to this day clueless about its effect on the blue collar worker Democrats who voted against his policies in Massachusetts.

4) Most middle class folks who work in the private sector strive everyday to improve their position and their standard of living. They see a promotion into the management ranks as a measure of personal accomplishment and, more important, as a means to make more money. They know that their company must make a profit - and unlike Obama - believe that the more profit - the more long term stability and the wider the opportunity for them to make real money. For example - the millions of career workers in investment banking accept, as a fact, that the higher the profit - the better the chance for them to reach their career goals. There is no way that Obama understands this point. He truly believes that the only people who can be classed as "workers" are downtrodden folks in the middle class. He can't let go of his impression gained as a community organizer when his every day contacts were with the 'workers' - you know - the 'working class' - some of whom are union 'workers' who Obama thinks of as a special class of 'workers'. The thought that an up-through-the-ranks manager sees himself as a 'worker' doesn't cross Obama's mind. The President's constant differentiation of middle class people from all of the other Americans is a mistake. He is also tone deaf on the fact that most wealthy Americans do not see themselves as privileged. They are proud of their heritage - believe they are living the everyday values of middle Americans and are doing everything possible to make it possible for others to enjoy the same dream that they have lived. Most 'middle class' know this to be true. They do not see themselves as being 'crapped upon' by the wealthy. America is generally branded as a classless society exactly because those who have succeeded didn't inherit their wealth - they worked for it.

5) Most middle class folks have role models and some of these models are company executives - some are even CEOs. It is a safe bet that most who work in the investment banking field aspire to be millionaires. When the bank 'workers' hear the President constantly harping on the subject of Wall Street executive greed - it is by no means a given that all of them are on board with the President's program of beating up on their bosses. They take particular note of the fact that the President is selective in directing his ire at the banks - exempting Fannie and Freddie executives who continue to enjoy generous pay packages while presiding over a real mess. (This tidbit will eventually be exposed for what it is - hypocrisy.

6) It certainly doesn't help the President's pursuit of his populist agenda against Wall Street when so many of the middle class are investors in the private sector. When he repeatedly (key word) rails against those on his public enemy list and the market goes down by 6% - his beloved middle class just have to be commenting over their Brandy Old Fashions - hey Mr. Pres. - why are you doing this to us.

Stirring up class envy has never worked. It didn't work a year ago on the AIG bonuses, it and it certainly won't repair the President's image - confirmed by the Massachusetts results. The man is totally out of touch with reality - even his own base voted against his policies. And, he is clueless on the qualities required to lead.

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