Obama, Reagan & Race

President Obama is quoting Ronald Reagan these days, even though out of context and consequently deviously. One of his latest allusions to the “Great Communicator” has to do with the Gipper’s words about closing loopholes and restructuring the tax system. Obama turned that subject into a reason for raising taxes on the wealthy or something called the “Buffett Tax,” i.e., some sort of minimum tax for millionaires, though in reality it also seems to mean a tax increase on others…a “fair share,” in other words. It’s great campaign rhetoric with no risk involved in that such a proposal hasn’t a chance of being enacted, but the administration deems the hoi polloi to be too dumb to catch on.

If Obama had any intention of mimicking Reagan, he would go for an immediate lowering of all taxes, which is what Reagan did in pulling out of the horrible recession left him by the Carter administration (prime interest rate at 21% and unemployment rate at 6.3% and climbing). This is what George Bush did early-on when inheriting the recession left by Clinton, though the situation was not nearly as dire.

When the democrats took over Congress in 2007, unemployment stood at 4.6%. By October of 2009 (well into Obama’s tenure), it stood at 10% and has been lowered significantly recently not by a great increase in the jobs market but by the administration’s cooking the books by simply claiming a gross reduction in job opportunities and/or because huge numbers of people have stopped looking for work.

The actual unemployment rate, as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 9.6%, though the BLS lists the official figure at 8.3%, and as the year progresses the administration will lower it even more. The BLS calculates both scenarios but the BLS belongs to Obama currently, while California Congressman Duncan Hunter is attempting to pass legislation requiring the actual rate to be official. In reality, the unemployment rate may be closer to 15%, though according to the BLS valid assessment of 9.6% it is relatively unchanged from late 2009.

But what does Obama actually think about Reagan, at least as opposed to what he once thought about Reagan? As recorded on page 133 of his book Dreams from My Father (subtitled A Story of Race and Inheritance) and in response to a question about his decision to be a community organizer in 1983, Obama wrote that he “couldn’t answer them directly” but instead would pronounce the need for change.

This is what Obama wrote: “Change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions were carrying on their dirty deeds. Change in the Congress, compliant and corrupt. … Change will come from a mobilized grass roots. That’s what I’ll do, I’ll organize black folks.”

He didn’t say he would organize all poor or disadvantaged folks, just black folks. Reagan and the vast majority in Congress were white folks and, presumably, he intended to turn them around. Reagan’s deeds were dirty, according to then-Obama, but now he quotes Reagan out of context for purely political purposes. Dreams from My Father was written in the middle nineties, so Obama in more than a decade had not changed his mind but now claims to follow the “dirty deeds” route?

In the 2004 election year when John Kerry was the presumptive Democrat favorite and ultimately the candidate, men who had served with him in the Navy put together a book titled Unfit for Command. During that same year shortly before the election, CBS anchorman Dan Rather attempted to foist off on the public what he claimed were damaging documents concerning George Bush. His effort was a complete hoax.

The 2004 race was close but there can be little doubt that Unfit for Command played a vital role in Kerry’s defeat. Rather’s effort was totally exposed, forcing some CBS honchos to be fired, though Rather stayed on for a while but not for long (“resigned” March 2005). People should read Obama’s Dreams from My Father in order to get an idea of how the president actually feels about white people and how seemingly with purpose he intends to be divisive…promulgating class warfare.

Obama’s effort to somehow emulate Reagan is entirely comparable to Rather’s effort at deception. It’s an ugly business, down and dirty and designed to somehow fool the public, a large segment of which is aware of the culmination of Reagan’s policies and the tremendous upsurge in this country from everything from the GDP to the standard of living. His policies were diametrically opposed to those of Obama, who seems disposed to destroy the economic system that has made this nation the envy of the world.

When asked why he was reading the book Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (page 103 of Dreams from My Father), Obama wrote in part: “And because the book teaches me things, about white people, I mean. … It’s about the man who wrote it. The European. The American. … So I read the book to help me understand just what it is that makes white people so afraid. Their demons. The way ideas get twisted around. It helps me understand how people learn to hate.”

Obama’s writing evinces a certain personal altruism that’s admirable, but perhaps also either a complete misunderstanding of white people, particularly, or a refusal to attempt an understanding. In an interview in Philadelphia on 20 March 2008 after his famous “race speech,” he referred to the “typical white person,” whom he described as one who is wary of the company of people she/he doesn't know.” One wonders at his definition of the “typical black person.”