Would Obama Incite Civil Unrest to Win?
Is President Obama willing to incite civil unrest to win re-election? As we have all been encouraged to wear our dog-whistle decoders these days, one can hardly be blamed for wondering. Worse yet, we know the answer. He is already doing it.Please bear with me, as this topic requires considerable delicacy. According to Rolling Stone, Barack Obama has now called Mitt Romney "a bull*****er," on the record. His anger at the challenger was palpable -- that is, carefully staged -- during each of the last two presidential debates. And he has made a central theme of his campaign the warning that a Romney presidency would erase all of the "equality" victories of the 1960s and '70s.
Is President Obama willing to incite civil unrest to win re-election? As we have all been encouraged to wear our dog-whistle decoders these days, one can hardly be blamed for wondering. Worse yet, we know the answer. He is already doing it.
Please bear with me, as this topic requires considerable delicacy.
According to Rolling Stone, Barack Obama has now called Mitt Romney "a bull*****er," on the record. His anger at the challenger was palpable -- that is, carefully staged -- during each of the last two presidential debates. And he has made a central theme of his campaign the warning that a Romney presidency would erase all of the "equality" victories of the 1960s and '70s.
Consider these typical words from his October 25 rally in Las Vegas:
You can choose to turn the clock back 50 years for women and immigrants and gays. Or in this election you can stand up for the principle that America includes everybody. We're all created equal -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, abled, disabled -- no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from or who you love, in America you can make it if you try.
This, to restate, is his message down the stretch: before the revolutionary uprisings of the 1960s, America only "included" white men. Romney is a white man who wants to return to that time. So if you are a woman, an immigrant, gay, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or disabled, then you should not merely oppose Romney as a candidate who does not represent your interests; rather, you should fear him, as a man who wishes to eliminate you from the American portrait.
If Romney wins, and you are not an "abled" white male, America will no longer "include" you, according to Obama. In less than two weeks, you are going to be reduced to second-class citizenship, your fortunes cast back to the bad old days of 1962, before radical feminism, the Nation of Islam, gay rights, the Black Panthers, free love, flag-burning, the "drug culture" -- and of course, before the days of America's first "gay," black, America-hating, drug-damaged, contraceptive-dispensing, progressive feminist Islamic-Christian president.
And now, after scowling at him through two debates, after his vice-president spent ninety minutes calling Paul Ryan a liar, and in the context of all this fear-mongering about the threat of a return to White Male America, Obama has branded his opponent a "bull*****er."
From Lyndon Johnson or Harry Truman, this kind of remark might have been regarded as innocuous, albeit unpresidential. From Obama, the Harvard genius with the well-creased pant leg, the bestselling author and master of political oration, it is an expression of bitter rage and supreme disdain. And in an era when representatives of Obama's base are flooding Twitter with threats to assassinate his opponent, such heated rhetoric could be dangerous.
Anyone who wonders whether perhaps Obama just does not want to be president anymore should think again. He wants to be president. What he does not want is to have to exert so much effort to retain the presidency. What he does not want is what Hugo Chávez does not want, what Vladimir Putin does not want, what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not want: a fair fight, an unobstructed challenger, an unintimidated electorate.
It was so easy in the past. Swept along on a wave of adulation and enthusiasm, protected by leftist media and academia, and helped out when necessary by an Axelrod-arranged scandal or two, Obama has barely had to lift a finger to gain political office and to climb the ladder. Authoritarians do not understand why one should have to do so.
So he is angry. And this anger has become central to his campaign strategy. The fear he is seeking to inculcate among his base has an even uglier flip-side. The Obama campaign is attempting to cast Romney and his supporters not as people with the wrong ideas, but as The Enemy. In this circumstance, fear can easily give way to extreme outrage -- and perhaps to violence and intimidation. This is particularly true when the target audience of this fear-inducing invective is ignorant, emotion-driven, and dominated in its thinking by entitlement greed, rather than by considerations of right and wrong. Consider Sandra Fluke, Snoop Dogg, Occupy Wall Street, and student leftists (see examples).
When Harry Truman's daughter, a singer, was panned by critic Paul Hume, the sitting president wrote a letter threatening to bust Hume's nose if they ever met. In 1950, however, none of Truman's supporters would have been inclined to do the dirty work for him, or even to take the whole thing seriously. Needless to say, Obama's supporters are quite different from Truman's.
Could Obama really be reduced to attempting to win re-election through mob protests and intimidation -- i.e., through a climate of fear?
Let us examine the broad facts. According to the recent polls, most of which have been conducted by organizations sympathetic to Obama, Romney appears to be on his way to victory. Obama's policy record is insupportable on the basis of its results, and his campaign knows it. His one ace in the hole, his alleged effectiveness in the Middle East, has been exposed once and for all as a disastrous lie. And his opponent's past seems to be scandal-free, thus eliminating the one major comeback technique his inner circle has shown any past skill in executing.
All appears lost for Obama according to normal campaign channels. It is time for the Hail Mary pass. But do we have any grounds for imagining that he and his team would stoop so low as to seek to incite mass incivility, on or before Election Day?
Let us examine a few more facts. Barack Obama's primary occupation before electoral politics was as a community organizer in Chicago. He was an adviser to ACORN, the election fraud racket and socialist activism organization founded by former SDS radical Wade Rathke. His mentors in Chicago included Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, the Weather Underground leaders who staged the Days of Rage in 1969; Rashid Khalidi, apologist for and promoter of anti-Israeli violence; and Jeremiah Wright, whose most famous words are "God damn America!" In his youth, of course, Obama's primary male role model was Frank Marshall Davis, a communist and, naturally, a community organizer.
Would any of the people I just named stop short of using intimidation or civil unrest to achieve their political ends, if they believed it would be effective -- or that it was their only hope?
Too speculative, you say? What does any of this have to do with Obama himself, you ask?
A few more facts. On Election Day 2008, New Black Panther militants, one carrying a billy club, stood threateningly in front of a polling station in Philadelphia. (See here.) They were charged with voter intimidation. Obama's Justice Department dismissed the charges. In March 2012, when Florida was on pins and needles over the Zimmerman-Martin case, and the Al Sharpton types were trying to escalate the tensions and incite racial unrest, Obama spiked his presidential message of national "soul-searching" with the race-baiting Sharptonesque observation that "[i]f I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
Obama has spoken sympathetically of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and, more importantly, embraces its leftist class warfare rhetoric. His stock line about Romney's economic plan is, "it turns out that it's just a one-point plan -- a sketchy deal that says folks at the very top get to play by a different set of rules than you do." Pure "99 percent" stuff. Ayers and Dohrn, who hosted his first ever political campaign event, have given presentations to OWS groups.
The Obama administration funded a study redefining domestic terror threats to exclude radical Islamists, while including people who are "reverent of individual liberty" and "suspicious of centralized federal authority."
In short, the Obama presidency has been consistent in its lack of scruples when it comes to demonizing wealthy people, conservatives, and now Mitt Romney -- not opposing them, but painting them as racist, greedy, dangerous potential terrorists hell-bent on doing harm to women, blacks, gays, and immigrants.
But now, most remarkably, we have Obama's Benghazi gambit. The focus of the story, of course, has been on the administration's deliberate concoction and dissemination of a fairy-tale about a video protest to obscure the damaging facts concerning the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. That story gets uglier, and more damning, by the day. (See American Thinker.)
There is, however, another side to Obama's Benghazi lie -- a side most instructive on the present question.
Administration officials knew, on September 11, that the attack was in no way related to the airing of the obscure YouTube video, and that in fact there was no protest in Libya on that day. In spite of this knowledge, they systematically cited the video as the primary source of the (nonexistent) protest in Benghazi and implied that the murderous attack grew spontaneously out of that protest.
The political fallout of that lie is devastating. But we must not neglect its practical results for the world beyond the Obama campaign.
By making the video the centerpiece of its various public statements over the days following the Benghazi attack -- including of Obama's September 25 address to the U.N. -- the administration itself publicized and aggrandized it. They repeatedly branded it a "disgusting" and "intolerant" offense against Islam, thereby giving credence to the mock outrage being stoked by a television host on the Egyptian Islamist station al-Nas and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government. In other words, their repeated apology for the video's offense against Islam, couched as a (feeble) defense of Western values -- "we protect free speech, but we hate religious intolerance" -- helped to justify, heighten, and prolong the Arab outrage over a video almost no one had seen.
Rather than responding to the Ansar al-Sharia attack with force in real time, labeling it accurately at once, and promising with credibility to crush any copycat incidents -- a response which might have defused or defanged any further uprising from the "Arab street" -- Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others in the administration told a story that justified and empathized with Islamic anger, while weakly pleading for non-violent protests. In addition to inviting a bounty on the filmmaker's head; the administration's rhetoric helped to swell the protests, to increase the intensity of subsequent violence at U.S. diplomatic missions, potentially to endanger the lives of Coptic Christians in Egypt; and to legitimize the sharia advocacy of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Deaths have been reported at post-September 12 "video protests" in various countries. At the peak of this Obama-fed furor, even al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri jumped on the bandwagon, calling for more anti-U.S. "protests" against the video.
In short, the administration's Benghazi cover story, by repeatedly citing and publicizing a supposedly grave insult against Islam, endangered many lives, and risked igniting a much larger outbreak of anti-Western violence in a region of the world Obama claims to admire and respect.
And it must not be forgotten that the inflammatory words with which Obama and his team carelessly stoked Muslim outrage, thereby needlessly endangering so many Arab and Western lives, were a calculated, bald-faced lie, and Obama knew it.
This lie, with all its resulting risk to human safety, was apparently judged to be worth it simply in order to shield Obama's re-election campaign from harm.
Think about that. Think about Obama's attempts to brand Romney a threat to every leftist cause of the last fifty years. Think of his supporters among the New Black Panthers, the SEIU, and the Communist Party USA. Think of his condemnation of Romney at this final, desperate hour, as a "bull*****er" from the one percent who wishes to revoke the equal rights of blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, gays, women, and immigrants.
Benghazi teaches us that Obama is willing to risk inciting civil unrest abroad for the sake of protecting his re-election hopes. Is he willing to take the same risk at home?
One must hope that the harsh realities of life in Obama's America have dulled the enthusiasm of even his most ardent supporters, and his "new era of civility" -- Chicago-style civility -- will come to nothing.