“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
— President Barack Obama, July 13, 2012
As a show of solidarity, well-meaning Americans often declare themselves honorary members of the latest victim group, with or without permission. The formulation is familiar by now.
“We are all Egyptians.”
“We are all Trayvon Martin.”
In Roanoke, Virginia this past Friday, President Obama utilized a bizarre inversion of this phenomenon. Obama invited us to join him through the looking glass of his solipsistic narcissism, equaled only by the cloying arrogance with which the president delivered his speech.
For you see, we are all Barack Obama.
The president stated: “And when I think about that first campaign, what strikes me is no matter where I went, no matter who I was talking to, I could see my own life in the life of the people whose vote I was asking for.”
Obama’s narcissism is infamous (what other president has undergone regular tallies on how many times he uses “me,” “myself” and “I” in his speeches?), and he has now expanded the definition of himself to be all government, which in his worldview is the sole source of good. This formulation allows him to use the first person “we” when saying that government “created the Internet,” “created 23 million new jobs” and “created a lot of millionaires.” We, the government, even “created the middle class.”
Obama decries Republican “top-down economics,” instead proposing “middle out” economics in its place. What he really means is “government out” economics, and it is the only path to the American dream, as dictated by Obama.
According to this speech, the American dream is achieved as follows:
Increase home values, by dictating to banks how to run their businesses. Lower tuition rates, by dictating to colleges how much they can charge their students. Increase wireless access, by dictating to the telecom industry where and how to expand coverage. Expand health insurance, by dictating to the states and the entire health care industry when, where and how those that have health insurance will get actual health care.
All of the above is subject to the terms and limitations of Obama’s beneficence. Obama will dictate the parameters of a fundamentally transformed America so that you may “take a little vacation with your family once in a while — nothing fancy, but just time to spend with those you love.” And then you shall retire “with some dignity and some respect, and be part of a community and give something back.”