- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 20, 2010


President Obama was elected by a country that doesn’t deserve to be ruled by someone as enlightened as he is - or so he thinks. Last weekend, as it became increasingly evident that the president’s party is headed for historic losses in the midterm elections, Mr. Obama offered his explanation for the electorate’s thanklessness. “Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does [sic] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared,” he told attendees at a Democratic fundraiser. “And the country’s scared, and they have good reason to be.”

This is Barack at his most self-absorbed. On his side are facts, science and argument; his opponents, by implication, appeal to myth, irrationality and demagoguery. His brain trust brings moral clarity and intellectual certainty; his opponents are backward-looking knuckle-draggers. This is the only way he can explain the ingratitude of the American people toward his benevolent regime.

It’s not a new tone for this president. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama sniffed at those sad unfortunates who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” During April 15 tax protests, a smug Mr. Obama said he was “amused” at the rallies, snickering, “You would think they would be saying ‘thank you.’” To the philosopher king who occupies the White House, those who oppose his wise rule are selfish, insolent dolts.

Mr. Obama’s strange pseudo-biological assertion that people are “hardwired not to always think clearly” when they are scared isn’t true. Fear can be a rational response to an imminent threat, and for some people a crisis brings clarity. The “fight or flight” instinct kicks in, and what puzzles Mr. Obama are the vast numbers of Americans who have chosen the former.

This is the first time Mr. Obama has had to cope with reasoned and principled opposition to his fashionably leftist ideas. Barack Obama has lived in a bubble of acclaim where he was always the kid being praised for how bright he was. He was elevated through a formal education process in which his race, glibness and charisma were more than adequate substitutes for hard work. His professional life as a “community organizer” and machine politician in heavily Democratic areas required nothing more than appealing to those who already agreed with him. His entry to the White House came in the wake of an unpopular presidency and in the midst of an economic crisis, and he floated into office on waves of hope and change rhetoric promising miracles that perhaps even he believed he could deliver.

It makes twisted sense that Mr. Obama has no idea why the electorate has rejected his sincere efforts on their behalf. Because he and his party’s policies cannot be blamed, he seeks succor in the notion that the voters opposing him are simply red-state redneck rubes. As Vice President Joe Biden recently bellyached, they would tell the doubting public how good they have it, but it’s “just too hard to explain.”

We can at least agree with the president that the country has good reason to be scared. The last 22 months have seen a riot of government expansion into every aspect of American life. The housing crisis has not abated and by some measures has grown worse. The value of the dollar has plummeted. Government debt is at record levels and will remain there for the foreseeable future. The economy is sputtering, the stimulus failed to stimulate, job losses are deeper and will last longer than any economic downturn since World War II. Mr. Obama blames this continuing mess on the Bush administration, on factors out of his control, or on anyone but himself. Facts, science and argument disagree.

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