Obama Criticism: Race Versus Reality

All last week, poll results had pundits like Chris Matthews puzzled and outraged that a near majority were willing to question President Obama’s very legitimacy. Matthews and co. chalk it up to ignorance, stupidity and – most of all – racism. But for the most part, they’re wrong.

I’ve just returned from a business trip to Idaho Falls, Idaho. It’s a place where, yes, they drive pick-ups, own guns and carry Bibles. But, no, they are neither racists nor radicals. In fact, they prefer to be apolitical, focusing on family and community and being as trustworthy as they are trusting. They are salt-of-the-earth Americans.

The small business owner I visited there owns a thriving local dairy that employs 50 people – including a foreman who migrated from Mexico and and legally obtained U.S. citizenship with my client’s help. The dairy milks 200 cows, bottles milk and delivers it to 2,800 homes and even makes ice cream that is shipped nationwide. My client is up with the sun and is still at work after dusk.

My client, along with others I met on this trip, talked a lot about the constant conundrum of Barack Obama: Is he unimaginably sinister or unbelievably stupid? Or both?

Nobody likes to see the president as an internal enemy. But as one fellow in a place I stopped for coffee put it, “by his chosen associates and his own actions we must judge him.” He didn’t say or mean, “By his race …” He wasn’t a “birther.” But in his 70 years on earth, he’d disliked, distrusted and vehemently disagreed with U.S. presidents, yet he’d never before called one “un-American.”

Contrary to Obama’s protestations, the economy is in collapse. The nation is being buried beyond rescue in debt. Abroad, our relations with allies are little better than those with enemies – far worse on many fronts than when his predecessor (yes, Bush, whom this crowd blames even for cloudy days) was supposedly alienating the rest of the world. Our own money is being handed to enemies by our allies to buy the bullets and bombs that kill our young men and women. Our response is feckless at best.

Here at home, our southern border is porous, and endangered by all-out open war between drug cartels and the Mexican government, yet the president refuses to do his constitutional duty to secure the border. Sates – plural – are in rebellion against the Obama government over multiple issues.

When it comes to Obama’s chosen associates, the picture isn’t much brighter. From his long-time pastor, Reverend Wright, to various anarchists and communists (including at least one – Van Jones – that he brought to the White House with him) a pattern emerges that is not coincidental.

For anyone who cares to see it, Obama’s penchant for playing the disdainful dictator is plain: confiscating private money, property and authority, castrating Congress and state governments and generally centralizing power.

That’s why so many Americans are willing to say the unthinkable to pollsters; they question where Obama may have been born because they look and they don’t see an American president. Remember how his wife saw no reason to proud of America until we elected her husband? Those who live and work in America’s heartland see no reason to be accepting or trusting of him. None.

Of course there are racists who loathe Obama because of his skin color. They may even attend Tea Parties – but let’s not pretend there aren’t racists among the liberal elite too. But the overwhelming majority of those who distrust, fear and loathe this president see well past his skin color.

It’s silly to explain away the growing opposition to Obama as racism. As he himself has noted, he was black when he was elected by the same population that now rejects his policies. The fact is, those who deeply distrusted him before the election are being joined – however reluctantly, even grudgingly – by those who did vote for him. It’s futile to paint them as white-hooded Klansmen. They’re just citizens who can’t ignore the rising mountain of evidence of what he is.

It’s not about them or us. It’s about him.

When another small business owner brought up the wreckage Obama has wrought, I sked him which did he think Obama is, sinister or stupid? “What does it matter,” he answered, “the destruction is the same.”

So Mr. Matthews et al: a rapidly growing number of Americans – particularly those that work hard, who invest, who create enterprise and jobs – are dispirited and distrustful at a minimum, enraged at a maximum. But it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with undeniable realities.

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 14 books. His latest, “Make ‘Em Laugh & Take Their Money: A Few Thoughts on Using Humor as a Speaker or Writer or Sales Professional for Purposes of Persuasion,”  contains a selection of his BMI essays. More information about Dan can be found at www.NoBSBooks.com, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at www.DanKennedy.com.

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