Is Obama a Failed Historian Too?

Anytime I watch President Obama talk about the history of the U.S. economy as he did in Kansas this week, I feel like I’m listening to someone who had been locked away in a time capsule for the last thirty years. According to him, the last few decades of economic prosperity, prior to the 2008 meltdown, were nothing but a farce. That long period of strong economic growth and low unemployment were apparently inconsequential to America’s middle class, simply because their personal wealth didn’t grow at as fast of a rate as it did for the rich. He claims that the concept of trickle-down economics is a mere fantasy, and that only our nation’s wealthiest citizens benefited from the strong economy that preceded his administration. He also claims that hard work hasn’t paid off for the middle class in a long, long time. He even goes as far as using the term “collective amnesia” when describing those who don’t share his historical view of the economy.

Talk about revisionist history.

As someone who bought his first car with money he earned from carrying golf bags for rich people and bussing their tables, I take exception to his comments. As someone who put himself through college with the tips he earned as a waiter – tips left by wealthy people, I take exception to his comments. As someone who bought his house and supported his family by developing computer technology for wealthy people, I take exception to his comments. And as the old saying goes, I’ve never been given a job by a poor person. Most people who’ve spent any time in the workforce know that I’m not the exception.  I’m the rule. We understand how financial independence can be achieved by working our way up the ladder.

Yet, the message I’m supposed to buy from our president is that all of that hard work doesn’t actually benefit you and me. It only benefits our bosses. Ridiculous.

I suppose I should expect this sort of talk from a man who has had practically no experience in the American workforce himself, but I don’t believe the false narrative stems completely from him being a novice, or even a liberal. The rhetoric is clearly one of desperation from a president whose policies have failed to get this country’s economy back on track. Since he can’t fix the problem, he believes the answer as usual is to blame someone else. In this case, it’s those evil rich people who have the gall to run successful companies while many of the rest of us are struggling right now. Envy is a powerful tool, and president Obama stokes it at every opportunity.

While rational people understand that killing the goose who lays the golden eggs comes at their own peril, much of America isn’t rational right now. Many feel beaten down and hopeless. That’s why I believe the president’s shameless continuance of the class warfare strategy is actually working with a good portion of the country. There has long been a natural instinct in our free society to hold secret animosity toward those who have enjoyed more success than we have. I say secret animosity because most of us realize that such a feeling is petty and unjust, so we don’t typically verbalize it. It’s jealousy plain and simple, and jealousy isn’t an attractive trait. But the president has sent out a loud and clear message that those unsavory instincts are absolutely justified. Noble, in fact. He wants us to proudly act on them and join him in vilifying those who we wish we were.  And his hope is that we as a society are so blinded by that envy that we disregard the historic formula for economic success that made this country the world’s last remaining super power.

The president’s class envy narrative is going to be a tough hurdle to overcome for whoever the Republican presidential candidate ends up being. After all, bumper-sticker slogans like Eat the Rich are easier to identify with than an economic lesson in supply-side economics – even a Cliff’s Notes version. But where Obama is relying on class warfare and revisionist history to get his point across, I believe the GOP candidate needs to rely on actual history.

It wasn’t all that long ago that unemployment was dipping below 5% nationally, and Americans need to be reminded of that. It wasn’t all that long ago that our economy was roaring. Americans need to be reminded of that. Most importantly, the GOP candidate needs to effectively verbalize how America achieved nearly three decades of economic prosperity on the back of Ronald Reagan’s reformations in the early 1980s. Sure, some may get tired of Republicans constantly evoking Ronald Reagan into the current day, but the parallels between Jimmy Carter’s policies and Barack Obama’s policies are too glaring not to draw attention to. The Republican candidate also needs to remind us of how quickly Reagan turned an economic catastrophe into an economic success story. That’s important. We’ve gone through three years of a stagnant economy, high unemployment, and a debt burden that continues to grow at a breathless rate.  Americans need to understand that it doesn’t have to be this way.

The mantra of the Republican platform should be, American Prosperity Wasn’t A Dream. At each opportunity, historic periods of America’s economic success should be contrasted with how Obama has handled the economy, and the Republican candidate has to make it clear that Obama’s America doesn’t have to be our new reality.

Will it work? I don’t know. But if we don’t want a prosperous America to be something we can only revisit in history books, rationality needs to be restored.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Robin

    I wondered for a long time how liberals came to possess their fantasy views of history, economics, etc. I decided to research it and achieved enough understanding that I decided to write about it. I have a paper posted at http://cedarstrip.wordpress.com/
    You may find it interesting.

  • joe from louisiana

    These leftists pretend it is Tsarist Russia in 1905 but ironically they are in power and yet still point fingers at the right. If this nation does ever succumb to the radicals it will be one of the most curious episodes in human history. We had it so good and yet we were malcontented. I do agree with him on one account, we are spoiled.

  • Ted

    I cry for America. I cry for freedom. I cry.

  • Ted

    Democrats win. Because they present “history” according to ideology. In brief, catching sound bites that Sesame-Street-like are memorable. The predominantly liberal media picks them up, repeats them ad infinitum and voila they are fact. It w has worked since FDR and will work again in 2012. Few Republicans (and no “credible” ones as judgedt by the NYTimes) out the falsehoodswith some of the narrative mentioned above. It is as though most Republicans both buy into the Left’s storyline or they’re afraid of rebuke by the NYTimes or NBC, etc. Romney seems afraid to upset anyone and Newt, well if he makes it, Republicans lose again. An old fat blowhard against a well-rehearsed, smooth reader. His people will make certain any “debates” favor his style and voice.

    SE America loses again!

  • Ken Hansen

    Liberals like to say that trickle down economics doesn’t work, yet their counter-argument is to funnel huge gobs of money into companies (called ‘stimulus’ money) in the hopes that it will cause jobs to be created – kinda sounds a lot like trickle-down economics to me.

    The easiest indicator that trickle-down works has to do with two industries – grass cutting/landscaping and car washes. It is very easy to imagine a person that, if they had just a little bit more money would get a car wash rather than do it themselves. Put more money in this man’s pocket and he’s likely to spend some of it on a car wash; spread that wealth around the country and there’s a whole lot more folks working at car washes – you’ve created jobs!

    Same for lawn cutting/landscaping – give homeowners the right to keep more of their earnings and they’ll likely spend it on lawncare, take money away from those same homeowners and they’ll take care of their lawn themselves, costing America jobs.

    We poured $528BN into Solyndra to create/save 1,100 jobs – do you have any idea how many car washes and mowed lawns you can get for $528BN?

  • Tim

    Castro made his ascension to the throne of Cuba
    with his class animosity rhetoric. Now everyone except Castro himself is poor and want to come to the USA.

    • Drew Page

      The Cubans are still driving the same cars they were back when Castro took power. Now there’s progress.

  • BARBF

    EXCELLENT…may I send a copy to the few remaining Obama-lovers among my former friends?

    • John Daly

      Go for it. ;)

  • samantha

    wow.amazing/really cool&brilliant article,Mr.Daly !!

    • John Daly

      Thanks!

  • Ken Besig, Israel

    For Barack and Michele Obama and their Black constituency, America has been an oppressive Jim Crow racist state populated by White bigots who have done everything in their power to keep the American Negro in his “place.” For the Obama’s and their supporters America has been worse than a failure, it has been a destroyer. I am not saying the “I was never proud of my country before” Michele Obama was right, but that was how she and her husband Barack really feel and for them, and many American Blacks, they have a point. Thus when Barack Obama chides America for not living up to it’s ideals, he and his stooges are speaking from their experience which you will admit is not the experience of most Americans. And yet with the US economy in the toilet there are many White Americans who can and do sympathize with the Obama narrative of a failed America.
    I mean why else would any thinking person with an understanding of the success and the nobility of America vote for this clown, or even pay attention to his anti America rants?

  • G. Daylan

    So simple-minded are men and so controlled by immediate necessities, that a prince who deceives always finds men who let themselves be deceived. – Niccoló Machiavelli

  • Glen Stambaugh

    There seems to be an alternate reality enjoyed(?) by the left. They seem oblivious to the obvious results of their ideals played out over history and so starkly visible in Europe. They seem incapable of waking from this fantasy land. Will voters re-up for 4 more years of shared fantasy with such clear consequences? I doubt it.

    • Hoyt Clagwell

      Just because liberal policies have failed elsewhere and throughout history doesn’t mean that they won’t work if only the proper leader (Obama) is the one calling the shots. This, of course, is the definition of insanity.