Long-time Democratic pollsters Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen last week took on one of President Barack Obama's most bitter betrayals of his campaign rhetoric and the high hopes of people who voted for him.
Their op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal dealt with race, and it pulled no punches: "Rather than being a unifier, Mr. Obama has divided America on the basis of race, class and partisanship. Moreover, his cynical approach to governance has encouraged his allies to pursue a similar strategy of racially divisive politics on his behalf."
Cynical? This man with the lofty rhetoric and sermonizing style? Only if you follow his deeds, instead of his words.
Part of the polarization that Barack Obama has caused among the American public has been due to the fact that some people do not look behind rhetoric and symbolism. Such people are prime candidates to become part of the Obama cult. Those who look only at deeds tend to become critics. But those who closely follow both his words and his deeds are the most outraged of all, because of the gross contradictions between those words and those deeds.
Caddell and Schoen go all the way back to Jeremiah Wright in tracing Barack Obama's actual track record when it comes to race. That Obama spent 20 years in the church of a man preaching racial hate should have told us all we needed to know.
That Obama as President of the United States, on nationwide television, could attack a white policeman who arrested his friend Henry Louis Gates, while admitting that he didn't know the specifics, should have alerted even those who had bought the excuses about Jeremiah Wright.
Caddell and Schoen also mention the refusal of Obama's Justice Department to prosecute black thugs who stationed themselves outside a voting place to intimidate whites who came there to vote. It was caught on tape but the career Justice Department attorney who handled the case was told to drop it — and resigned rather than be part of a sordid coverup.
Now, Caddell and Schoen argue, the Obama administration's coming to the rescue of illegal immigrants in Arizona is more of the same race-based politics, in this case to win the Hispanic vote.
What Barack Obama and his followers want is called "comprehensive immigration reform." What that amounts to is some form of amnesty up front, combined with a promise to strengthen the border later. That political game has been played for years, and it has roped in some weak-kneed Republicans, as well as being a mainstay of Democratic politics.
Regardless of what immigration policy anyone believes in, the government cannot carry out that policy until after it has first gained control of the borders. Regardless of what Washington politicians may say about how many immigrants should be allowed into the country, or on what basis, none of that matters when the real decision is in the hands of innumerable other people, who can simply climb over a fence along the border and come on in whenever they feel like it.
Even if they get caught, the most that is likely to happen to them is that they get sent back to try again later. In many cases in the past, they have been issued legal documents ordering them to appear in court — and were released inside the United States. Why anyone would think that people who disregarded the border and the fence would take a piece of paper more seriously defies logic.
President Obama would rather have an issue with which to win the Hispanic vote than to have a bipartisan bill that would simply take control of the borders. Such a bill would help the country but that obviously takes a back seat in an election year. Even some members of Obama's own party are uneasy with such cynicism.
Thomas Sowell graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University (1958) and went on to receive his master's in economics from Columbia University (1959) and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago (1968). He is the author of 28 books including his most recent, Intellectuals and Society. Currently he is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His Web site is www.tsowell.com.
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