Last night, I was with my good friend Paul. Paul was once a diehard Red Sox fan. Legions of real Sox fans out there read that sentence and were unable to process. Once a Sox fan, always a Sox fan, right? Wrong. Paul is now a diehard Kansas City Royals fan. What? Huh? Are you kidding me? You thought I was going to say he sold out to become a Yankees fan, didn’t you? Why in the world would a sports nut like Paul (a former senior editor at Sports Illustrated before his retirement) switch his allegiance from the perennially contending Red Sox to the perpetually dreadful Royals? Well, it all has to do with disappointment. Or, in this case, the impossibility of every having any. You see, as Paul explained it to me, without any expectations whatsoever, there is no chance for disappointment. Since the Royals would drop to last place on April 5th and stay there until the leaves change colors in Boston, he would never have to watch a game, read about an agonizing loss in the morning paper, or lament a zero-filled box score. No expectations = no disappointment. Personally, as a diehard Nats fan, I plan to run 100 mph toward the wall of possible October disappointment, but I definitely see his point. And, it got me thinking about President Obama, the real point of my story.
There is a lot to be unhappy about with the president. Pretty much everything, in fact. The economy is in a perpetual state of malaise, possibly headed for yet another recession, unemployment is stuck at more than 8%, consumer confidence is low, foreign policy is a mess, with friends ignored and enemies unsuccessfully embraced, the free markets are gummed up with hundreds of new and destructive regulations, and on and on. There’s no doubt he’s awful and his approval numbers accurately reflect that. But, if you elect the Kansas City Royals president, you can’t expect first place performance. Maybe I’ve pushed the baseball reference a tad past its inherent utility, but I think you get my point. In almost all of the areas I mentioned above, the president has done more or less exactly what he said he would do in 2008. He ran as radical leftist who embraced the failed ideas of Keynesian economics and big government. He arrogantly claimed that he could solve all ills in the Middle East with a friendly handshake with Ahmadinejad. He professed his allegiance to the UN and his disdain for American exceptionalism. And, folks, he said these things BEFORE he was elected. So, you cannot act surprised that he did them once he got into office. It’s perfectly reasonable to be unhappy about the outcome, but you cannot be disappointed about something as predictable as the Yankees taking a weekend set from the Royals.
But (and you know my blogs always have a big BUT somewhere along the line), there is one area of his presidency that does bring me great disappointment because I had much higher expectations. I actually believed that electing the first African American president could bring a uniting force to our country. Instead, we have the single most divisive figure in my political memory. THAT is very disappointing. I expected much better. I cannot pretend to understand what it would be like to be African American in this country, but I am confident it comes with great challenges and high barriers. I watched my father spend a career working to lower those barriers in the workplace and I am proud of him for it. We’ve made great progress toward a color blind “one country” mentality. If we hadn’t, the current president never would have been elected with a large majority.
Why then, would he take office and immediately begin a 4-year frontal attack on those people who have helped to make America strong – the business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs who have built great companies and, along the way, created some wealth doing it? Why would he so vilify people who have lived the “American Dream?” I don’t use those words lightly – American Dream. I understand we often throw them around willy nilly. I’m not doing that. In fact, I went to the ultimate source of all information – Wikipedia – and looked up “American Dream” and found it defined thus:
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States; a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.
Seriously, read that a few times. It’s really powerful stuff. The opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. President Obama’s entire 2012 reelection campaign is focused on the notion that people who have achieved prosperity, success, and upward mobility through hard work are fundamentally evil and should be punished for it with higher taxes. “They aren’t paying their fair share,” he prattles on. Never mind that they pay essentially all of the taxes today, they are cheating the system and it’s just not fair! He seems to have decided that his only hope for reelection is to irreparably divide the country.
Fortunately, I don’t think it will work. I don’t think anyone, but the liberal elite, in America shares the venom he spews at the people in this country who have worked hard, built businesses, and been successful. To the contrary, I think this continues to be the American Dream for most. No doubt Obamanomics and the Eurosclerosis it has imbued in us have put the American Dream on hold for many. But, I don’t think he has killed it. And, I am hopeful that people will vote the American Dream and its vast potential back into office and send President Divisive back to Chicago. I am disappointed in him. I really expected more. Go Royals.