Op-Ed

How Obama Divided and Conquered America…

by Yatindra Bhatnagar.

President Barack Obama, fresh from the hotly contested, though narrow, victory for his second term, must have felt compelled to concede that he has badly divided the nation in the first four years of his presidency when he lamented this fact at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in the capital some two weeks into his second term. Billed as a “celebration of faith and togetherness event”, there Obama noted that “the spirit doesn’t last much past the coffee” — an apt description of the state of the nation and politics that has marked the Obama presidency, so far!

He did not and will not concede, however, that the situation was created by his own policies and declarations during the last four years and in his costly, extremely negative, and bitter election campaign against Republican rival, Mitt Romney.

In his speech before community and religious leaders and some lawmakers, the president decried the current tone in Washington:

I do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we’ve been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast seems to be forgotten — on the same day of the prayer breakfast. I mean, you’d like to think the shelf life wasn’t so short. I go back to the Oval Office, and I start watching the cable news networks, and it’s like we didn’t pray.

That came after the fact that Obama won by dividing the nation relentlessly along lines like rich and poor, gay and straight, Hispanic and the rest, and men and women.

Obama launched an aggressively negative campaign against Romney instead of defining his plans for working with a Congress dominated by Republicans, strengthening the defense and the security of the country, or solving the problems of economic misery, unemployment, and a divided nation. He indicated his direction right at the start of his first term by being apologetic for U.S. foreign policy and his nation’s role. Despite the shed blood of American youth saving people and democracy all over the world and the strengthened economies of dozens of countries on America’s wealth and technology, Obama was apologetic, submissive, and weak.

The world understood the implications. The greatest impact of his speeches was in Egypt, Turkey, and other countries in the Middle East. His failure to help those who had and would have kept radical Islamists in check created a distinct impression of the weakening American presidency and influence. Even the mention of events in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere do not make the U.S. proud.

The continued Iranian arrogance and unprecedented rise of radical Islam across the Middle East are threats to the very existence of Israel — America’s most reliable and democratic ally in the region — and encourage radicalism and increased hatred for the United States. Even countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan deeply entrenched with U.S. military continue to defy America and surrender to radical elements — the Taliban and others — further weakening U.S. influence in the region.

North Korea is on a reckless path with more missiles tests and threatening gestures towards South Korea and even the U.S., but Obama has hesitated to give a solid and fitting response.

Obama can cite only one achievement in international affairs — killing Osama bin Laden. His other so-called success was the controversial Obamacare, a bill so massive that the then-Democratic Congress was steamrolled into passing it before lawmakers had a chance even to read it. The Speaker of the House at the time, Nancy Pelosi, arrogantly declared that lawmakers can read the bill after passing it.

The Obama Administration poured billions of dollars into schemes that ate away the money without any tangible strengthening of the nation’s economy. All he did was expand the role of the government and blast the groups that create wealth and employment for the people. His “redistribution of wealth” ideology created a permanent rift in the nation; his US vs THEM ideology has destroyed the country’s unified existence.

Obama’s one-point program to get re-elected boosted the chances of illegal aliens to get what they want and violate the nation’s laws with impunity. His outspoken support for gay people got him the vote of a vocal minority and the liberals. His “blackness” was enough to garner unprecedented support from African Americans, and his passionate advocacy for abortion and distorted interpretation for women’s rights gained him a majority support from women.

Supporting abortion, legalizing illegal immigration, and siding with the gay population became the right qualifications for the president of the United States. Without any tangible record of achievement, he maintained his status as the most powerful politician in — and the undisputed leader of — the Free World.

With a record of weakening the American military, ineffective foreign policy, and surrendering to China’s increasing military and economic power and to the continued rise of radical Islamists’ power and ambitions, Barack Obama won a shocking second term to further his goals of dubious ideology and liberal dispensation.

That American influence, even in the Latin American region, has rapidly declined is obvious. Venezuela’s Chavez (who recently died after a long battle with cancer), radical Islamists, and the increasing influence of China have made major dents in U.S. power in respective regions. Not much is expected in the next four years unless there is a seachange in the policies in Washington, D.C., and the president really acts.

Obama did inherit a weak economy from George W. Bush, but he had four years to make a significant improvement without maligning the private sector and wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on unproved and reckless projects of inexperienced companies, like Solyandra for solar power. Instead, he kept expanding the role of the government and spreading his socialistic ideology. He received massive support from the mainstream media and the Hollywood elite. The irony was that despite creating the impression of being anti-rich, he got hundreds of millions of dollars from the same ‘filthy’ rich.

Demographic changes in the U.S. threaten to alter the character of America as we have known it. With the so-called immigration reform, Obama and the Democratic Party have managed to get a demographic stranglehold on national politics. The country is growing ‘less white and more dominated by women’.

In any case, his second term doesn’t ensure a lasting legacy. Obama’s victory also doesn’t mean he has an undisputed mandate for a radical change in the character of this country and for the imposition of his ideology. It also does not ensure that Obama will carry out whatever he has promised, and people know that. His campaign mostly insisted that he is on the right path and the people should give him more time. He wants the nation to give his flawed policies another chance.

As Noam Neusner, a former speech writer for George W. Bush, wrote, “I worry Obama will confuse political craftsmanship with statesmanship. If he does, he wouldn’t be the first two-term president to do so.” Yes, Obama has not proven that he is a statesman; he is only a political manager.

In any case, the Republican Party for now seems to be clueless and weak. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, the man chosen to respond to Obama’s inaugural speech, accepted this fact but gave a new direction and pointed to an opportunity for redemption. In doing so, he has positioned himself as a prominent leader in the party.

“We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults,” he declared. He blasted Obama’s defense of a robust and active federal government and offered his counter-philosophy focused on growing private businesses beyond Washington without relying on the engine of the federal government:

We must lay out the contrast between liberalism’s top-down government solutions and our bottom-up real world philosophy. We believe in creating abundance, not redistributing scarcity. We should let the other side try to sell Washington’s ability to help the economy while we promote the entrepreneur, the risk-taker, the self-employed woman who is one sale away from hiring her first employee. Let the Democrats sell the stale power of more federal programs while we promote the rejuvenating power of new businesses. The Republican Party does not need to change our principles, but we might need to change just about everything else we do.

For now, the nation and its lawmakers are divided, and this deep division in the government is alive and well. The Democrats have retained control of the Senate aided by some bungling of a few Republican candidates and chances lost in three seat races too close to call. The Republicans, though, won the House and ensured that Speaker John Boehner of Ohio retained his seat.

The challenges before Obama are still there, and those challenges are fierce: still high unemployment, a slow-growing economy, soaring deficits, and national debt at an unsustainable level. The year ahead will in all probability make or mar his record that is so far nothing to write home about.

Mr. Bhatnagar is a journalist based in California with six decades in the profession. He was chief editor of Dainik Bhaskar in India and The Indian Voice and India Post in the U.S. He has written over 20 books on a variety of subjects.

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