Obama’s race-baiting

Jason Roe Contributor
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I have to admit utter shock when I watched the President of the United States in a DNC-produced video plead “It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again.” Shocking because I can’t believe this so-called “uniter” purposely singled out particular groups of Americans as part of his coalition as if it was perfectly acceptable. This is as blatant an “Us v. Them” as I’ve ever seen.

On the surface, the words he chose seemed to be a call to arms of segments of the electorate that propelled his victory in 2008 and which his party must rely on to be competitive in the 2010 elections. But the events this past week made it clear to me that the motive here was not mobilizing his coalition, it was to set a trap for the Right.

Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers – all Americans – don’t take the bait!

There is a difference between campaigning and governing as everyone has seen in the form of Obama for America versus the Obama Administration. The campaign was artful, interposing lofty rhetoric, inducing symbolism, and dramatic contrasts. But governing is less art and more labor and the fitful first year of his presidency took away much of the luster created by the artistry of the campaign. Governing has been so difficult, in part because this administration has chosen to dramatically upend the American ideal and emasculate our historic self-identity of liberty, independence, and freedom and instead convincing us that we are incapable of surviving without a dramatic expansion of government into every element of our lives. The latter message couched mostly in social-justice and new rights that most Americans were unaware were rights.

The Obama agenda has inspired a new populist movement more energized than the Perot voters of 1992 or the Republican Revolution of 1994. And this energy and the change in Democratic fortunes scares Democratic leaders and so they have, once again, calculated that by dividing Americans into subcategories, they can reassemble a coalition that will rescue them from their excesses in November.

The trap that they have set is to trick the Right into becoming a caricature that will feed the narrative of the campaign they plan to wage with the Right offering themselves as the central villain. This narrative will ignore the flawed policies and expansive growth of government and focus instead on the Right as an angry mob of white bigots against the enlightened and diverse modern Left.

Obama Inc. saw the rather mild reinforcement of immigration law in Arizona coming and saw the opening that could create the contrast they want to present. By highlighting a border state’s decision to do what the federal government has refused to do – enforce immigration laws – led by a Republican legislature and Republican governor, they saw the opportunity to paint us as a wild bunch of xenophobes harassing minorities simply for the color of their skin. The rhetoric of the Al Sharptons, Shakiras (incidentally not an American citizen), and myriad angry and dishonest demagogues is over-the-top, phony, and embarrassing.

Obama Inc. saw it coming and so they chose to further incite the Right by having the President record that shameful video in the hopes that we’d call him out for singling out his minority-coalition in the hopes that we’d scream about his bigotry further reinforcing the narrative they see developing out of Arizona.

We cannot and must not take the bait and be conscious not to allow them to define us. And this will be very complicated because as mobs of activists protest in Arizona, the media will portray them as an appropriately outraged oppressed minority expressing their outrage over statutory racism while those Tea Party activists, well they are a violent bunch of white bigots burning crosses and preaching anarchy.

The Arizona law is not about race it is about the Rule of Law. You know the thing that differentiates right from wrong. To the Left, ignoring laws inconvenient to your political coalition is acceptable and the Right must be wise to keep the debate focused on the law and law-breaking.

Jason Cabel Roe is a partner in Revolvis Consulting, a Republican campaign consulting firm with offices in San Diego, Sacramento and Washington. He is the former managing partner of the Federal Strategy Group and was chief of staff to Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida and Rep. Jim Rogan of California