On Hope and Hate: Week One of Obama v. Romney

Something wonderful unfolded in American politics the last few days.

Almost immediately after Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican presidential hunt, David Axelrod and the Obama reelection team unleashed the class-warfare cannons. They expected to enjoy the first salvo of the season, fired by Democratic lobbyist Hilary Rosen. In a CNN interview, Rosen claimed that Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, “has actually never worked a day in her life.”

It was a nasty blow, and the public rallied to Ann Romney’s defense. As for Ann Romney, she didn’t remain silent. “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys,” she said. “Believe me, it was hard work.” She might have noted her considerable physical sacrifices as well—such as breast cancer and MS—but didn’t.

While Hilary Rosen’s shot was still smoldering, liberal blogs were rife with fresh Democratic talking points vilifying Mitt Romney as a “one percenter,” asking whether he paid his “fair share” in taxes, and attacking him for squirreling away his vile riches in foreign bank accounts. It was total class warfare. And this was just week one!

But then came the wonderful thing: Merely six days after Hilary Rosen’s comment, major polling organizations released numbers on a head-to-head match-up between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and Romney suddenly has a lead. The most respected among them, Gallup, released numbers on April 17 showing Romney ahead by five points, 48 to 43 percent.

Why is this wonderful? It’s not that I adore Mitt Romney, but I loathe class hatred. Marx and the Bolsheviks and their disciples did it with great destruction. I don’t want it in my country.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons for Romney’s sudden surge over Obama, but no doubt some of this (particularly the swipe at Ann Romney) backfired. Or, at the least, some pollsters and pundits are interpreting it that way. If so, then maybe—just maybe—Axelrod might learn that not all forms of class warfare will resonate with Americans. Let’s hope that’s the case, because, otherwise, Axelrod and the president he serves—who Axelrod portrays as the Great Unifier and fountain of hope—will be bitterly dividing this nation along economic lines.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, not only has President Obama been unceasingly employing class rhetoric for three years now, but Axelrod has been thrilling over precisely such an assault against Mitt Romney. “Obama officials intend to frame Romney as the very picture of greed in the great recession—a sort of political Gordon Gekko,” reported an August 2011 Politico piece titled, “Obama plan: Destroy Romney.” The piece quoted Axelrod: “He [Romney] was very, very good at making a profit for himself and his partners but not nearly as good [at] saving jobs for communities. He is very much the profile of what we’ve seen in the last decade on Wall Street.”

This had been the plan before the Occupy Wall Street movement got up and running. Axelrod and Obama see Romney as red meat to feed the Occupy movement. As the Occupiers exploded last fall, Axelrod paused to tell MSNBC: “[Romney] says he represents business, but he really represents the Wall Street side of business.”

Envy is a deadly sin, but Team Obama desires it as an excellent divide-and-conquer tactic. Axelrod and Obama both cut their political teeth in Chicago, home of Obama inspiration Saul Alinsky, who preached the tactic of “isolating” a target and “demonizing” it. Romney’s riches fit the bill nicely.

More recently, in January, Axelrod told George Stephanopoulos that Romney is “not a job creator” but a “corporate raider” who outsourced “tens of thousands of jobs,” “closed down more than 1,000 plants, stores, and offices,” and raked in “hundreds of millions of dollars” at the expense of the poor. Axelrod referred to this as the sinister “Bain mentality.”

Alas, here we are, April 2012, with the presidential race finally down to Obama v. Romney, and the first polls show Obama behind this rapacious capitalist reptile.

So, will Romney’s sudden surge signal to Axelrod and Obama to call off the class-warfare dogs? I doubt it. This thinking is too close to their hearts. They’ve been hungering for this; fomenting class envy is what they long to do. But maybe—just maybe—the American public won’t swallow it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the people of this country quit hating each other, including hating people with more money? I’m hoping so, but our messengers of hope, Obama and Axelrod, are hoping not.

Paul Kengor

By

Paul Kengor is Professor of Political Science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author, most recently, of The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.

  • William

    Perhaps you should have mentioned that Obama himself criticized Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney? And for a look at Romney’s position on whether a woman should stay home, the answer appears to be “No.” 
    “Even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work,” Mitt Romney said in a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., in January. “And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that day care, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’ ”
    (See http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/15/news/la-pn-romneys-past-views-unearthed-on-working-women-stayathome-moms-20120415 for the video clip.) 

    • Tiredofthechickenlittles

      Nah..they dont need to do full reporting. They just want to shill for the Republicans. 
      Crisis Magazine: A Voice For the Republican Catholic Laity.

      • Gigahoo

        Crisis Magazine is really a magazine that encourages people to live and vote according Catholic values as clearly outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  

        • Knight

           Gigahoo, Tiredofthechristianbelievers throughout many posts on this site is someone who has rejected the Gospel. To him/her, it is all about democrat vs republican. Orthodox vs heterodox/disobedience to Christ/heresy doesn’t mean much in that type of mindset.

          • Gigahoo

            Dear Knight, what you say does not surprise me given his attitude.   How sad that one places power and politics above what is right and just.     How great that the Church is a counter weight to the power of government, as it has been to the irritation of princes throughout the ages.

            In my comment I was merely pointing out the very obvious, just as you have done.

    • MarkRutledge

      You are missing the much larger point, William.  The underlying philosophy of the American left is dominated by the feminist view that the traditional family is mysogynist and the stay-at-home mother is an inferior and self-limiting choice for women.  The underlying philosophy of the American right favors the traditional family and a reversal of the destruction thereove.  Obama can say whatever he wants, but it is clear which team he plays for, indeed leads.

      • William

        Mark Rutledge, the liberal view is to let couples make their own choices about this issue. People are smart, inventive, and resourceful. They don’t need to be tied to a particular paradigm. They can find solutions that work best for their families and that might include having the mom stay home. Mitt Romney, however, does not seem to agree. Let me repeat what I posted above:
        “Even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work,” Mitt Romney said in a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., in January. “And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that day care, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’ ”
        (See http://articles.latimes.com/20… for the video clip.) 

        You may watch Romney on the linked video. In other words, it is the supposedly more conservative of the two candidates who wants women in the work force and apparently believes that “the stay-at-home mother is an inferior … choice for women.” By contrast, President Obama was much more respectful to stay-at-home mothers. What he said was: “Here’s what I know:  That there is no tougher job of being a mom. And when I think about what Michelle had to do, when I think about my own mom, a single mother raising me and my sister, that’s work. So, anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement.” It is quite obvious that the President, and not Romney, was more respectful to mothers in this case. Your views of “left” and “right” are too stereotyped. 

        • Gigahoo

          I checked the MSN speech.  Romney was speaking about mother’s on welfare.  This more nuanced than the liberal view that couples make their choice.  Tax payers are paying the bill.  Who ever pays the bill is going to want a say, regardless of what Romney’s views are.    What counts in this case is whether Romney’s policies result in positive outcomes for women.

  • MarkRutledge

    Thank you for the fine article, Mr. Kengor.  But if I could voice one nit, please don’t give in to the populist misuse of the word “hate” where “hatred” is appropriate.  We may not be able to stop the dumbing down of the English language, but we can refuse to participate.

  • Knights Not Warriors

    Excuse me, but my understanding is that Representative Dr. Ron Paul is a candidate for the presidency.

    • Sue

      Exactly.  And Paul is a hell of a lot more prolife than Romney.
      This stay-at-home-mom thing seems designed by the Republican establishment, which is one with the Democrats, to drive us conservatives into Mitt’s arms.  When will we get it through our heads that the Marxist/plutocrats are able to wield this dialectic thing against us dummies.  Just because Hitler was bad, doesn’t mean Stalin wasn’t also bad.   Same with (for example) Gore/Bush (how’d those eight Bush years work out for us, huh?  with Bush abandoning the free market in order to save it, etc;  even Obama/McCain.  Look at McCain’s voting record to envision what a mess we’d still be in with him.

      Romney has a bad record on the economic (Romneycare) and social issues (ushered in gay marriage in Mass, flip-flop-flip on abortion, etc)  So the notion that he is our only chance against Obama is simply not true.  He only offers a slower walk to socialism, and therefore not a meaningful distinction to Obama, therefore the incumbent wins.  

      On one level, it’s been said that a box of crayons could win against Obama (he’s that bad).  If that’s the voter sentiment, that anyone could win, then why not get the conservative in there to take the reins?  

      If it’s not true about the box of crayons, then it would be because Obama and/or his manager is planning dirty tricks to undercut or cancel the election…and in which case we are also better served by a true conservative with standing to lead a challenge. 

      The -last person- we’d want running would be someone who would lie down and go to sleep when the globalist-Republicrat establishment told him to, like McMarshmallow did.

      So this grandstanding on stay-at-home moms seems too pat by Ann Romney.   Yes, some women must work, but many feel peer- or government- pressured to do so.   If she really wanted to carry the torch for nurture-at-home-motherhood, she might have exposed the bankruptcy of the whole escape-from-home feminist entitlement single-mothers or double-income-but-drop-my-kid-in-the-government-school ostrich parents.    Her husband might truly try to stand in a meaningful way for the natural family, defined by the love of a man and a woman begetting children and connecting the children to their parents.  But that would be too far from the etch-a-sketch shadow-existence of Romney.  We’ve seen him flip-flop on these issues and it’s our own fault if we get fooled again.

      I won’t be guilted by Catholics this November to vote for Romney “because he’s the lesser evil”.  You have your chance now to put somebody better than Romney in the Republican spot.  Use it!

  • Tout

    The stay-at-home  mother is ideal when she has small children.

  • Gigahoo

    From what I recall, Obama said that AFTER the Rosen fiasco.  He was in damage control guaranteeing himself, given the topical nature, some positive spin on  the nightly news bite.   My views of Obama fit real well with my views of the stereotypical Chicago politician.

  • Scott

    Lame.  Exactly what I have come to expect from Boomer Republican Catholics, who thing the voting booth is their vocation.  Obama and Romney are the two horns of Mammon.  Grabbing one to escape the other ties you to the beast.  This election day, I will celebrate the Mass in the Extraordinary form, then I will visit a hospice or do some other corporal work of mercy.  I wish every Catholic in America would join me.  THAT would be a revolution!

  • hombre111

    The author has clearly spent little time reading CNS (Conservative News Service) and the threads it fosters.   It would be hard to imagine a larger collection of blind hatred directed at President Obama.  Unlike conservatives, liberals tend to be a little more aware of nuances and other ways of seeing the world and its problems. 

  • Roxwyfe

    Silly me. I thought the main thrust of the feminist movement (at least at the beginning) was to give women choices about their lives. But when a woman makes the choice to be “just” a wife and mother you would think she was actually an axe murderer! There is no more important job on the planet than raising the next generation of citizens. Raising them with values, morals and intelligence. Raising them to be self-supporting, contributing members of society.

    As you might have guessed, I’m a mother (gasp). I would have loved to stay home with my kids when they were growing up, but financial obligations made it otherwise. We were lucky in that the caregivers we did have were good ones. But I see some of the people working in day care centers today and I’m not sure I’d trust them to sell me a hamburger, let alone take care of my child.

    Obama almost has to find some way to fracture the electorate. He most assuredly cannot run on his record of “accomplishments” as there really haven’t been any. So he’ll use divide and conquer or misdirection or pit one group against another to muddy the waters and divert attention from the issues. Let’s hope the bulk of the voters can see through this and hold  firm to their beliefs come November.

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