So President Obama is back to being the lord protector of the middle class. I remember his presidential campaign in 2008 and wondered at that time: What kind of Democrat is this, not to obsess over the poor? “Obama gets poor rankings on mentions of ‘poverty’” (Web, July 8) confirms this.
Many writers have made the easy jump to chapter seven of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to illustrate and decry Mr. Obama’s divisiveness as an exact implementation of that Marxist’s rules. Unfortunately, by being satisfied with pointing out the obvious, these writers have missed Alinsky’s epiphany after a lifetime of community agitation among the poor: America’s white middle class is where the power lies. We are belatedly beginning to understand this. If all the low-income parts of our population were organized, it would not be powerful enough to get significant, basic needed changes.
Second, if you cannot win over the lower middle class, at least parts of it must be persuaded to agree to a series of partial agreements and a willingness to abstain from hard opposition as changes take place. And the final job of today’s radical is to fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame to fight.
Mr. Obama has very clearly embodied Alinsky’s epiphany about the middle class. He has been pushing all the buttons of fear, division and partisanship on the one hand, and government benefits and promises of jobs on the other. The very last thing Obama wants, however, is a rising economy and people working. A good economy and jobs deflates the revolutionary possibilities. Every regulation, tax and Obama decree is geared to destroying the middle class. When people are living hand-to-mouth or living on benefits and having to jump through myriad regulatory hoops, they are unable to unite and fight the coming authoritarianism.