President Obama launched his national political career at his party’s 2004 convention with a speech debunking the red state blue state divide. It was a moment of great political theater, and the people ate it up.
The sentiment is consumable because it is a metaphor for other perceived divisions- black and white, male and female, gay and straight, urban and rural, north and south, rich and poor, and so forth. Being of mixed race, the man himself embodied the end of division.
The Presidency is the toughest executive job in the world. It is the job of chief executives to bring people together to achieve a common goal. It requires vision, expertise, energy, organization, and respect. Very few people have all of these skills, which is why chief executives are expensive.
President Obama has many wonderful skills and gifts, but not those of an executive. His early career was spent as a community organizer, a job that does not bring people together towards a common goal, but brings certain people together for a certain agenda. That is quite a difference. To succeed, community organizers pit one group of people against another in the guise of helping everyone. They mostly help themselves. When Americans thirsted for leadership to bridge divides, it chose a man who was singularly trained to do just the opposite.
The Democrats’ themes in the recent election were predictable.
Consider the “War on Women.” If one divides the total income of women by the total number of working women, and do the same for men, the first number is smaller. If one controls for other factors, like the fact that more women work part time or job share, that women are more likely to quit their jobs and therefore represent a higher risk and cost to employers, that women are more likely than men to take off work for a sick child, that women are more likely to avoid higher-paying, physically demanding or dangerous jobs, and that women are more likely to follow their husbands’ career, the difference nearly vanishes.
Women better than men understand tradeoffs and choices. It turns out that they are more concerned about jobs for themselves, their children, and their husbands than free birth control pills.
Consider income inequality. The fact that some people earn more money than others interests political alchemists who would transform envy into votes. But any conversation about income inequality should turn on the question of education inequality. Huge achievement disparities exist among children in nearly every school district in the country. As the nation turns to charter schools, the movement has been fought at every turn by teachers’ unions and their wholly-owned subsidiary, the Democratic Party. They hope that brown eyes will remain blind to the avalanche of data showing improved test scores among minority children who have escaped public schools.
Lately, the big banks buy their raw material (money) at nearly zero wholesale from the Federal Reserve and sell it at retail. Their profits are privatized, yet their losses are socialized. Some of that money gets recycled back to Washington in the form of campaign contributions. Is it any wonder the richest Americans work on Wall Street and the richest counties in America are clustered around Washington?
With its school monopoly and economic cronyism, not to mention a regulatory regime and a corporate tax rate that are killing high-paying jobs, government at every level is driving income inequality.
On issues of race, never has an administration been more disappointing. America is aching for a harmonizing President, and it thought it elected one. Instead, it got endless, divisive drivel, starting with “the Cambridge police acted stupidly” all the way to Ferguson, Missouri where Attorney General Eric Holder seems to be spoiling for a race riot. Is it any surprise that campaign flyers promoting the Democratic Senate candidate in North Carolina depicted a lynching?
While black New York Congressman Charles Rangel was linking Republicans with slavery, the GOP was celebrating two congressional firsts since Reconstruction: a black senator from the South (Tim Scott) and a black Republican (Will Hurd) from Texas. A black woman, Mia Love, won a seat in lily-white Utah. Call that real hope and change.
Divisiveness begot divided government.