President Obama took to the road last week to lecture Americans, as he is wont to do.
"We've tolerated a little more inequality for the sake of a more dynamic, more adaptable economy," he lectured in Galesburg, Ill. "That's all for the good. But that idea has always been combined with a commitment to equality of opportunity to upward mobility — the idea that no matter how poor you started, if you're willing to work hard and discipline yourself and defer gratification, you can make it, too. That's the American idea."
And that's the problem. The president says the words, but he doesn't believe the words.
First, let's acknowledge this: The Harvard-educated community organizer from Chicago gives good speeches. Heck, that's what made him president. And with the economy still foundering, Obamacare on hold, immigration and gun-control — his two big second-term action items — all but dead, he's back to the one thing he does well: Give speeches.
And let's acknowledge this, too: He's dead right. America is the land of opportunity, a place of grand promise where hard work, or a lucky idea at just the right time (think Pet Rock), can make you a millionaire. Mr. Obama summed it all up in Galesburg: "Here in America, we've never guaranteed success — that's not what we do. More than some other countries, we expect people to be self-reliant. Nobody is going to do something for you."
Nailed it; exactly right — America in a nutshell: Well said.
But the president doesn't really believe his pretty words, and that's virtually indisputable. Proof? "If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen," he said in a momentous insight into his true beliefs during the 2012 presidential campaign.
That is what the president really believes. If you're successful in America, it wasn't really you — your hard work, perseverance, commitment — that made that happen.
More, the president deeply believes that you should be ashamed if you've achieved success. Sure, he wants you to "pay your fair share" to the government — which in his view is half of everything you earn, at least — but he also wants you to feel horrible for having the audacity to succeed. And this from the man who paid just 20 percent of his income in federal taxes (yes, if you're keeping track at home, less than his secretary).
While his premise — work hard, succeed; loaf, fail — is spot on, he moves on in his Harvard mind to conclude, nonsensically, that succeeding while others fail is inherently unjust. "This growing inequality is ... morally wrong," he said in Galesburg.
And of course, that's not his fault: "Over the past couple of years, in particular, Washington hasn't just ignored this problem; too often, Washington has made things worse. ... Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop. This needs to stop," he said to applause from his sycophantic supporters as they snapped pictures with their free Obamaphones.
Said by the man who runs Washington — the biggest insider in the nation's capital. And said by the man who flies in his barber from Chicago for a new fade, who has suits hand made by a private tailor, whose daughters vacation in Cancun, whose wife suns it up in Florida one day, then hits the slopes in Aspen the next — all on the taxpayers' dime.
Look, no one made him run for president. Frankly, it should be an honor to serve Americans as president, and with the job comes nonstop work and complete sacrifice. Always, though, it should be an honor.
But for first lady Michelle Obama, the White House is "a prison." For the president, the job seems a burden, and certainly cuts into his time on the golf course. And while they're more than happy to ask Americans to sacrifice, they have no such plans to do so themselves.
The first family couldn't care less about that. Michelle will still take her million-dollar vacation with family friends to Spain, and they're set to hit Martha's Vineyard this week, where they'll stay in an $8 million house that costs $75,000 a week to rent. Along for the trip — 75 staffers (again, your dime).
But get this: the 10-acre acre estate on the tony island is owned by one of Chicago's wealthiest corporate financiers, reported Michelle Malkin. The "deep-pocketed donor and private-equity whiz ... earned his money in much the same way the demonized Mitt Romney did: Through corporate restructuring and rescuing debt-burdened companies."
Like the president's low tax rate, all perfectly legal. And one could even argue, truly American. But the irony is deep: The president spews disgust toward just this type of entrepreneur — as he did toward Mr. Romney throughout the 2012 campaign — but is more than happy to luxuriate in that very largesse.
No, it is you that needs to "defer gratification." Not the president. And always remember: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.