President Barack Obama successfully portrayed himself as a uniting candidate during the 2008 election, but his actions in office deepened the partisan divide, author and American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray told The Daily Caller in an exclusive interview.
“In the 2008 campaign, I actually believed that [Obama] was going to try to be a president who would bridge the partisan divide and compromise,” Murray said. “His rhetoric was really pretty good, and his behavior since he got into office has been the polar opposite. And it is getting worse rather than better.”
Obama’s carefully cultivated demeanor of sophistication drew in intellectuals from across the political spectrum during the campaign, according to Murray.
“It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but I responded in part to his rhetoric because he talks just like me,” Murray said. “[I]t’s his whole way of presentation of self … of a little of self-deprecation in the argument, and picking out a nuance here, which is all the ways that we over-educated people who have been socialized in the same way. It’s the way we carry on discourse.
“His discourse just was so familiar to me, and along with what was a very engaging personality, I kind of ignored things, which, I think it is fair to say, a lot of working class people glommed onto right away,” he added.
However, Obama’s intellectual air belied an unsettling lack of understanding of the American spirit — and his “you didn’t build that” line revealed that.
“Not that I think that he is not a patriot, but it’s un-American in the following sense,” Murray said. “Remember his line — he said, ‘You didn’t [build] that.’ When he was talking about entrepreneurs… It’s like a Dutch politician coming over here and saying that. The Dutch politician might think you can get away with that here. No American is going to think you can say that, no matter what your political views are, because it’s just disastrous to say that.”
“You know,” Murray concluded, “I don’t think it’s so much that Barack Obama is evil as is that he is clueless about this country in some profoundly disturbing ways.”