The Washington ExaminerBy: Matt Patterson
Hard to believe, but President Obama -- one of the most divisive and partisan chief executives in American history -- once posed as a messenger of national unity. During his keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, then-Senate candidate Obama proclaimed, "... there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America!"
Well, apparently Obama now sees a different and thoroughly bifurcated nation, a "good" America and a "rich" America. And in order to secure the votes of the former, he is disgracefully fomenting hatred toward the latter.
Take his "jobs bill." It never had a snowball's chance in Hades of passing, and he knew it. It was designed solely to help him gin up hatred for "the rich", whom he would force to "pay their fair share" were it not for those dastardly, obstructionist Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The malicious intent behind such demagoguery is exceeded only by its utter disconnect from reality -- the "rich" already pay the vast majority of taxes. The top 10 percent of income earners pay some 70 percent of federal income taxes, according to the National Taxpayers Union.
Meanwhile, the president's erstwhile Democratic allies in the Senate have actually hindered passage of his jobs bill even as House Republicans could only talk about doing so.
But no matter. As independent voters -- who handed him the presidency because they believed his promise to be a healer -- turn from him in droves, the president is forced to play to the basest prejudices of his left-wing acolytes.
And the strategy has already borne (poisonous) fruit: As Mort Zuckerman, billionaire publisher and one-time Obama booster lamented to the Wall Street Journal recently: "... the door to [the Occupy Wall Street movement] was opened by the Obama administration, going after the 'millionaires and billionaires.'... To fan that flame of populist anger I think is very divisive and very dangerous for this country."
To say the least. And having lit the fire of this resentment, Obama is now furiously fanning the flames. In a recent interview with ABC News' Jake Tapper, Obama said, "... what I've said is that I understand the frustrations that are being expressed in those [Wall Street] protests," and that he wants them to "... know that we understand their struggles, we are on their side."
He's on their side? What side is that, exactly? Consider what one speaker at the Los Angeles branch of the "occupation" forces told a crowd of sympathetic protesters:
"Ultimately, the bourgeoisie won't go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class. Long live revolution! Long live socialism!"
And that sentiment is widely shared among the protesters. According to a survey conducted by pollster Doug Schoen, a full 31 percent of the Wall Street occupiers "... would support violence to advance their agenda," the substance of which consists primarily of "... opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth."
This dangerous protest movement did not spring into existence ex nihilo. It is at least partially a creation of the government, which has nursed the pathologies of the populace like a viper to its bosom.
When people see fiscally reckless institutions like banks and companies receiving government bailouts, they reason that they, too, deserve to have their lack of responsibility forgiven, and can you blame them?
And from the president himself they have learned to hate the "rich", the very people who create the jobs and pay the taxes that sustain our economy.
Madness, that way lies.
Matt Patterson is senior editor at the Capital Research Center.