Obama the Shameless
If the news media hadn’t told you how brilliant Barack Obama was every day for the last six years, you might have your doubts.
Invoking a national outrage in which 41 laws were violated by a lone madman in Newtown, Connecticut, the president of the United States and celebrated orator said on Thursday, “We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes, that we meant it.”
Then, as always, Obama’s inner Alinskyite took over. “There are some powerful voices on the other side who are interested in running out the clock, or changing the subject,” the president said, asserting that “their assumption is that people will just forget about it.” If that happens, Obama added, then “shame on us if we’ve forgotten.”
Shame, he said. Shame.
It’s a simple concept, and it’s familiar. But it’s darn rare these days in the political sphere. It’s rare for a couple of reasons. First, Bill Clinton is a respected public figure. Mark Sanford is making a comeback. Gay couples are demanding the right to wed, and Christ is in the closet. Ours is a judgment-free moment in history. The second reason that shame is rarely invoked in politics is that it’s radioactive. No one likes to feel shame, least of all public shame. As soon as it’s invoked, its invoker is examined for hypocrisy. In our modern culture, assigning shame to anything is a daring act. In effect, Barack Obama invited the world to examine his faults last Thursday.
For anyone just waking up from a coma, the Obama administration has spent six trillion of your great-grandchildren’s dollars over the last four years. Have we cured cancer? Nope. Defeated al Qaida? Nope. Landed on Neptune? Nope. With $6 trillion stolen from an unborn American generation, we’ve maintained the status quo. We’ve expanded the nanny state a little, but mostly, we’ve just paid off existing entitlements.
As a nation, we’re burning the house down because we’re cold. The next American generation is going to be cold, staring at a pile of ashes and told that they have to pay interest on it. We’re forcing future American taxpayers to pay for our decadence. We’re feasting and leaving the bill for a generation that is presently unable to protest. Obama’s America is one that sacrifices the future on the altar of the now. Ours is a government of thieving hedonists. And the leader of that government is invoking shame over the fact that only 41 laws prohibited Adam Lanza from shooting up an elementary school?
Whether Republican leaders realize it or not, Barack Obama just pulled his goalie. He opened a door to Republican victory and a conservative resurgence that could define the next 10 election cycles. By invoking shame, Obama started a conversation that he never intended to start.
A national conversation about shame will be devastating to the Obama administration. Over 5 million future Americans have been aborted during Obama’s tenure. And the president is on pace to nearly double a debt so large that it threatens our national security. Of course, Obama’s apologists will say that Bush and Republicans-past have done the same thing. And they’ll be right. But so what? Americans aren’t going to blame themselves. And Obama has been in the Oval Office for more than four years.
The great thing about shame — especially in America — is that it creates an opportunity for redemption.
Democrats and Republicans alike love their children and want to pass a better America onto them. Americans on both sides of the aisle are proud of our nation’s history of generosity and personal sacrifice. No one in the GOP is speaking in those terms. They’re afraid to talk about entitlement reform. But, with Obama’s help, they won’t have to. They can talk about the shame that is our federal spending. Then they can offer a solution.
GOP critics are presently insisting that the GOP needs fundamental change to appeal to new voters. They’re wrong. It’s all about messaging. It’s always about messaging. Would Obama have won in 2008 if he said that he was going to abandon Clinton’s landmark welfare reform, extend food stamps to one-seventh of our citizenry, take over a sixth of our economy, fold on gay marriage, leave embassies undefended, abandon all of the progress our soldiers fought for in Iraq, legalize untried, indefinite detention of American citizens, and add $10 trillion to the national debt — all the while, partying with celebrities in Hollywood, inciting class warfare, and soaking the rich?
No. He would’ve soared like Dukakis. Obama won on messaging. Democrats always do. But Barack just fumbled on a major play.
Republicans can learn from Alinsky. Someone in leadership on the right needs to engage Obama in a national conversation about shame, redirecting the shame from gun control to spending and the willful mortgaging of America’s future. Whenever Obama mentions new spending, he needs to hear a shame chorus from the right concerning shattered piggy banks and America’s beleaguered future generations. The shame angle needs to be harped on until it gets a response from the president. Eventually Obama will be forced to address the argument. When he does, specific cuts should be demanded. If he makes the requested cuts, new cuts should be demanded. When he fails, the shame chorus should begin anew.
Adding his perilous spending and absentee budgeting over the last four years to his recent words, President Obama has given Republicans a golden opportunity to reshape the political zeitgeist. Unlike most Republican arguments, this one is bite-sized, populist, and winning: Stop robbing America’s children. A brighter, less indebted American future polls well with students, parents, seniors, veterans, whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and everyone else.
From FDR to JFK, presidents in the Democratic pantheon have promoted the idea of shared sacrifice for the good of the collective. Obama doesn’t. If anything, Obama promotes shared plunder. Republicans have an opening to steal a long-winning Democratic talking point. Americans may not like entitlement cuts, but they do love sacrificing for a noble cause. All an enterprising Republican needs to do is ask.
Paul? Marco? Rand?
Yates Walker is a conservative activist and writer. Before becoming involved in politics, he served honorably as a paratrooper and a medic in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He can be reached at email@example.com.