Victor Davis Hanson: Campaigning on Grievances
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author most recently of The End of Sparta.
In 2008, a mostly unknown Barack Obama ran for president on an inclusive agenda of “hope and change.” That upbeat message was supposed to translate into millions of green jobs, sobriety, universal health care, a resetting of Bush foreign policy, and racial unity.
Four years later, none of those promises will be themes of his 2012 reelection campaign. Gas has more than doubled in price. Billions of dollars have been wasted in insider and subsidized wind and solar projects that have produced little green energy....
There are suddenly new enemies called the “1 percent” — those who make more than $200,000 per year and who “do not pay their fair share.” Apparently, in a zero-sum economy, this tiny minority has taken too much from the majority and thereby caused the four-year lethargy that followed the 2008 meltdown. Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, and Franklin D. Roosevelt all ran, with varying success, against the selfish “rich.”
Congress is also now a convenient enemy of the people. Although it was Democratically controlled in Obama’s first two years, and the Senate remains so, the new theme insists that a Republican House stops the Democrats from finishing all the good things they started. When support for 16 years of the New Deal had evaporated by 1948, Harry Truman ran successfully against a “do-nothing” Republican Congress that had blocked his own big-government “Fair Deal” follow-up and thus supposedly stalled the economy....
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